If stomping on opposing players’ arms or faces is part of professional ball I’ll stick to college games, thank you.


I went to the USC-UCLA football game last night, and saw lots of excitement and color—the tailgate feasts, the reunions—planned and unplanned—of old college pals and acquaintances, the bands playing, cheerleaders cheering, and the USC crowd exhorting star quarterback Matt Barkley to return, chanting “One more year.”

Then there was the game: exciting for a while if you were, like me, a Trojan fan, but without suspense as the Trojans won, 50-0.

It was easy to cheer for USC, harder if you were a UCLA fan, but the Bruins have had their day, and will in the future. No mixed feelings as you cheered your team on.

How different if you were a fan of the long-doormat Detroit Lions of the NFL professional football league. The Lions are 7-4, well placed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Their offense is led by quarterback Matt Stafford, their defense by the ferocious Ndamukong Suh.

But it’s no fun cheering for Suh, who along with his formidable talent is one of the dirtiest players in all of football—or any other sport. Thursday in a rage, he stomped on the unprotected arm of an opposing player who was flat on the ground. The play is sickening enough to suck all the joy out of watching the game.

Suh isn’t the first NFL star to use his cleated shoe to maim an opposing player. Several years ago Tennessee Titan star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth stripped the helmet off a prostrate opponent, tried to stomp on his head, missed, then connected with a second stomp, opening a severe wound on the victim’s forehead, narrowly missing his right eye, and requiring 30 stitches to close. Haynesworth’s notoriety was rewarded when the Washington Redskins signed him to a seven year, $100 million contract.

Nor is professional football the only sport sullied by ugly cheap shots. Just this June the Los Angeles Lakers star seven foot/285 pound center, Andrew Bynum, viciously fouled the Dallas Mavericks’ six foot/175 pound guard J.J.Barea, in what the play-by-play announcer called “one of the most bush-league, disgusting things I’ve ever seen.”

And don’t get me started on professional hockey, where every team employs an “enforcer” to injure opponents.

Haynesworth, Suh, and Bynum all apologized—sooner or later—but their apologies, even if sincere, which is doubtful, don’t make it easy to root for them to win their next games. Lions fan? Laker fan? Ugh. I’ll stick to college ball, where the best coaches, like Oregon’s Chip Kelly and LSU’s Les Miles, punish dirty play with suspensions or expulsion from their teams.



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5 Responses to “If stomping on opposing players’ arms or faces is part of professional ball I’ll stick to college games, thank you.”

  1. fantasyfurnace Says:

    Very well stated. A sad commentary on the state of professional sports, mainly football, today.

    Nice Post!


  2. Mark Ryan Says:

    Exactly right, Bob. Suh and his ilk should receive season-long suspensions, without pay, after transgressions like these. Nothing else will get through to them, if even that would. I’d also
    like to see coaches start to bench players after stupid things like DeDean Jackson’s recent antics.


    • Ethics Bob Says:

      Yes, Desean Jackson is a perfect example of a super talent who is hard to root for because of his narcissism. One of the things i admire about USC’s Lane Kiffin is that he’s rid SC of the taunting and showboating that were so prevalent in the Pete Carroll era. I love the way SC players just hand the ball to the nearest official after scoring a touchdown: no spiking, spinning, or heaving.

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    […] leadership is an example of why it’s a pleasure to transfer allegiance from pro football to college ball. There are many other coaches who teach […]

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    […] became an even bigger pro football fan, until being turned off by the violence—not the inherent violence of the game, but the intentional maiming of marquee […]

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