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You’re likely familiar with the “broken windows” theory. It’s used by urbanologists to describe neighborhoods lost to blight because, from the start, smaller things, such as broken windows, went unattended.
Football, at all levels, has surpassed its untreated broken windows stage. It is approaching free fall. And not a soul in charge with a net.
Friday, at the close of the Armed Forces Bowl between Mississippi State and Tulsa, a brawl erupted that soon escalated into mass tribal warfare — roughly 45 versus 45 student-athletes, kicking, stomping, punching one another. It was the latest “Breaking News!” that football is no longer a sport, but a clash between the easily influenced, mindlessly violent antisocial.
Mindless? The perps were easily identified by the large numbers worn on their fronts and backs. Afterward, heroic MSU coach Mike Leach played the “So what, that’s just football” card in exchange for the $5 million he’s annually paid to coach a state school in an impoverished state. Leach arrived from Washington State, where his teams led the nation for most arrests over a five-year span.
Wonder how many engaged in Friday’s riot wore social activism messages, such as “Respect”?
Late in the 2019 season, a once-cherished rivalry, the Egg Bowl between Mississippi-Mississippi State, ended when Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore caught a 2-yard touchdown pass with 4 seconds left. The extra point would tie the game.
But Moore, who lacked both originality and judgment, determined this to be a good time to perform an end-zone dog-urination mime. Of course, he was flagged for being an idiot — 15 yards. Of course, Ole Miss then missed the extra-long extra point. Of course, Ole Miss lost its biggest game of every year.
All those quick-fix artists hollering to pay college athletes (as long as it’s not their money): How much would Moore have been paid to lose that game?
Naturally, those in a position to be heard to scream for reform are instead captains of the TV cheer squads. They may not even believe what they say; they may only be bound by their pandering obligations and fright to be condemned by yahoos and assorted other fools.
Late last year, the UNLV-Nevada football game ended much the way Friday’s MSU-Tulsa did: gang warfare, while they were pelted by bottles from the stands. You can still catch it on YouTube.
But back in ESPN’s studio, host Matt Barrie was pumped with Jeremiah Bullfrog joy to the word: “And look at this! Afterwards there was a fight! Love it! That’s what makes it special.”
No wonder Barrie has been promoted at ESPN.
On Dec. 19, the NFL quietly, politely — as if to protect his dignity — fined Ravens defensive back Marcus Peters for spitting toward Browns receiver Jarvis Landry — no sweetheart himself.
But let’s focus on Peters as an NFL keeper: As a junior at Washington, he was suspended, then dismissed, for “disciplinary issues.” He was still a first-rounder.
In 2017, with Kansas City, he was fined for a helmet hit on Raiders QB Derek Carr. That season, he was fined by the league and suspended by his team for a tantrum that included throwing a penalty flag into the stands against the Jets.
In 2018, with the Rams, he was fined for conspicuously grabbing his crotch in the end zone. His pandering young coach, Sean McVay, defended him for creating “a light-hearted moment.” Yep, one for the whole family!
Last season, with the Ravens, he had an endgame fight with Rams DB Jalen Ramsey that carried into the locker room, a la Ramsey and Giants WR Golden Tate this season, but Ramsey and Peters have rotten reputations to protect, and most recently, Peters was quietly fined for obviously spitting toward Landry.
As we journey down, we also note that the possession of loaded assault weapons has become a ho-hum, tired story among college, pro and even high school footballers. Why? Aren’t fans and patrons allowed to ask? Don’t we deserve an answer? What trouble do these players anticipate or plan?
On Christmas Day, Ty Jordan, Utah’s 19-year-old star freshman running back, was shot dead in what was described as a self-inflicted accident. But that’s hardly the point. He wasn’t accidentally in possession of a loaded gun.
Jordan’s sudden death once would’ve made huge, confusing, sensational news. Not now. Same with the arrest last year of another Ute football player for the rape of a minor. Now? Dime a dozen.
It started with broken windows and will end with a sport in voluntary ruin and pandering neglect.
How to make 2 minutes last forever
For a multitude of reasons, the NFL continues to make it easier to walk away and never return.
Here’s one: Sunday’s first-half two-minute warning in Giants-Ravens began with 1:58 left on the clock. It next took 23 minutes to complete the half — 23 minutes to play 1:58, no stoppages to treat injuries or await replay challenges.
Two timeouts called after the two-minute warning commercials break included five more minutes of commercials, two of them reruns from the previous commercial stoppage.
Of course, with no one in the stadia, no PSL suckers had to suffer the elements during those 23 minutes of commercial breaks waste before the 12- to 15-minute halftime break.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl, played Friday on ESPN, is my favorite for how it exposed an elite, socially awake university as dripping in deep-fried activist lard. In 2012, objecting to Chick-fil-A’s fundamentalist, religious-based issues with homosexual marriages, Duke tossed its Chick-fil-A’s eateries off its campus.
A year later, Duke was invited to play Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, a whole lot of money in that invite. Duke accepted, played. The courage of Duke’s conviction came with fries.
Curses! Bad example, CC
Apparently CC Sabathia remains unable to speak a sentence in public without including vulgarities. He claims to be a devoted father of four. Great. But what if his kids received that public treatment?
What color do you suppose the U.S. team wore in the World Juniors (under 20) game vs. the Czech Republic and Sweden? Red, white and blue, no? Nope, Nike black. (Thanks to reader Sheldon Burke for the heads-up.)
I’ve always enjoyed sports knowledge board games. There are now two out by MasterPieces, available through online stores: the “MLB Baseball Trivia Challenge” and “NFL Gridiron Trivia Challenge.” No bat-flipping or TD-dancing allowed.
ESPN must have an entire wing where people are assigned to come up with stupid ideas. Friday, ESPN included the repetitive graphic that the NFL draft is a mere 119 days away!