Pro Athletes Need to Learn Sportsmanship

In the past few years, I have witnessed many memorable events in sports. I remember Michael Jordan’s beautiful jump-shot with 6.6 seconds left on the clock, beating the Utah Jazz for his sixth championship. I remember the night the Boston Red Sox overcame all odds and defeated the New York Yankees and millions of doubters en route to winning their first World Series in 86 years. Those were the good times.
But looking back at all the wonderful memories, one can’t help but remember all the bad press and negative incidents that also come to mind: ‘Malice at the Palace: Ron Artest Against the City of Detroit,’ ‘John Rocker’s Memorable Racist Moments’ and more recently, ‘College Football Athletes Go Wild: Miami Versus Florida International.’ Alright, I’ll admit it, those weren’t actual names of the incidents; I made them up. But what is factual is that all these incidents were chaotic, crude and full of mayhem.
I’ve seen brawls before, but nothing like this. For those who missed it, two collegiate football teams had a battle royale on the football field on Oct. 14. University of Miami and Florida International produced what seemed to have been the greatest non-pay-per-view fight anyone will see this year. Helmets were swung, crutches were thrown and fists were flying. For five minutes, I could have sworn I was watching World Wrestling Entertainment.
It is surreal how grown men can let themselves behave in such a way on live national television. Not only were these athletes making fools out of themselves but they were making even bigger fools of their colleges. If that was their goal heading into the game, they passed with flying colors.
There is a high level of dignity and respect in sports. There is an unwritten rule that no matter how much you despise an opposing team or player, there will always be that line of respect that will not be crossed. Not many athletes nowadays seem to grasp that concept. That was evident in the Miami versus Florida International game, in which members of both teams acted like children, constantly bickering at one another until push came to shove and shove came to a punch in the face.
After the melee, the Miami Hurricanes held up their helmets and jumped up and down on the field feverishly like barbaric cavemen celebrating the discovery of fire.
Perhaps what forced these football players to brawl in the first place is the common stereotype that football players must constantly sweat testosterone so that their manhood will not be doubted. But honestly, if they were real men, they wouldn’t have paid attention to what their opponents said and instead let their skill do the talking. Sadly, that was not the case.
The brawl was nothing more than a pathetic display of young boys trying to vie their way into manhood through unnecessary violence. Sure, heated words were tossed back and forth throughout the game, but it is up to the athletes to keep their cool.
Lots of people are placing the blame on the coaching staff. I beg to differ. I believe when you reach a certain age, you are solely responsible for your own actions. These athletes are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I’m not sure what clouded their judgment on that eventful Saturday night, but it was obvious that their emotions ran rampant on the field.
Overall, 31 players received suspensions and two players were dismissed from the Florida International team. While indefinite suspensions were handed out, I would like to see all the players involved in the brawl suspended for the remainder of the season. The school should show the athletes that they do not have the right to do anything they please. There is no changing the past, but strides can be taken to ensure that brawls like this do not occur in the future.
I will admit, however, that the fight was entertaining to watch. It was five minutes of pure hell between men in their most natural, savage state. The sidelines were cleared as players charged the field, like soldiers in a war, ready to defend their team. It was an orgy of anger, rage and sadism. But the football field is not a place for an orgy of anger, rage and sadism. Save that for the bedroom.
Brian Nguyen is a second-year literary journalism major.