Regarding U of O and LaGarette Blount

A day after the football season began for the University of Oregon, it ended for star running back LeGarrette Blount.

If you missed it, after the Ducks got beat by Boise St in the season opener, Blount dished a right hook to Boise St player, Bryan Hout, after Hout spat some trash talking Blounts way. Coaches had to essentially drag Blount off the field, where he even tried to go after some fans in his uncontrollable rage. As a native Oregonian, I was certainly embarrassed and ashamed of Blounts behavior… it was absurdly uncalled for.

Blount dealing a blunt blow
Blount dealing a blunt blow

The next day, first year coach Chip Kelly announced that Blount was suspended for the rest of the football season. This was quite a shock to most people who believed the punishment was too severe.

I think I was in the minority. I liked the sentence. I felt the actions were severe enough to warrant a no non-sense consequence. Some people fall victim to the “make-an-example-out-of-’em” situation, and this might have been one of them, but I still felt it was a good decision.

Notice I said “good” decision, not “right” decision. I don’t think there was a right or wrong decision in this, or other like, situations. There are so many factors that play in to scenarios like this, and we the public are only privy to a small sliver. I feel it’s a little naive to think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to handle this, as though it’s a simple math formula you can just work out.

And now, Chip Kelly has come out and announced that they’re working on a plan that might allow Blount to be reinstated the first of November for the final 4 games of the season.

And again, I think I’m in the minority because I think that this too is also a “good” decision. And again, I think we do a disservice to the story and the people involved by assuming there is a “right and wrong” way to handle this. Rather maybe we should think in terms of good, better, best, and bad, worse, worse still.

I like the fact that originally they came out and said, “look, you screwed up… bad. And as such, you’re done. You can practice with us, but you will not play with us. Focus on your studies and hope that some pro team might gamble on you in the draft.” And now, as time has progressed, they have had a chance to process it further and treat it as a dynamic scenario rather than a static one. Blout has made many apologies, and has tried his best to make things right (all within the context of it not really mattering, because he was done for the season. It wasn’t like he was trying to get off early for good behavior. As far as he was concerned it didn’t matter what he did. And yet, he chose to be remorseful and commit to change.) I think that the University of Oregon was able to assess Blount’s behavior, and assess their original decision, and come to a point where they can say, “hey, you know what? Maybe he does deserve a second chance. Maybe the whole season was a bit extreme. Let’s talk about this.” And that, I think, is a “good” thing.

I’m not worried at all about it “sending a wrong message” to athletes from UofO.  In fact, I think if anything it could send a good message: we’re not incapable of changing our minds if you demonstrate remorse and work towards change.

One could argue that a “better” thing would have been for Oregon to suspend him indefinitely. That way they could move forward with several options open. But even then I might take issue…

I liken it to disciplining a child. Sometimes you might say to your son, “you are grounded. What you did was wrong, and now you’re grounded.” “For how long?” your son might ask. “Forever.” (Obviously your being hyperbolic, so maybe the metaphor breaks down at this point). Now, maybe, just maybe, if you tell him, “for two weeks,” he just sorta sits back and waits… figuring, “allright, it’s only two weeks, no big deal. I don’t REALLY need to be remorseful or work towards change.” And I think that might have been the case with Blount. If they would’ve just said he’s suspended for 3 games, where’s the motivation to change, to work towards being a healthier person who makes better choices?

All this to say, I think that Oregon’s initial punishment was good, and I also think it’s very good that they may create conditions by which he could be reinstated. I applaud both decisions.

What do you think? Was the initial suspension good or bad? And what about the new decision to possibly let him come back for the final 4 games?

4 Responses to “Regarding U of O and LaGarette Blount”

  1. Brian Morgan

    It was the 1st week of the year..”sportsmanship weekend”..The NCAA wanted to make a statement..I think this is the right decision as long as he has received help…sounds like he has…I was never in favor of the initial suspension..and I’m getting sick of the refs excessive celebration penalties as well…its changing the game…I know it’s unrelated, but that’s why my Bulldogs lost today to LSU!!!

    Reply
  2. Brian Morgan

    Georgia plays @ Oregon in 2015 on 9/19/15…and Oregon visits Athens in 2016 on 9/17/16…In case you’re interested…

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    Clearly I’m not the right person to be judging whether or not this was the right move – 1) I’m a Beaver fan and 2) I know almost nothing about football, and 3)Blount irritated me on a basic level as an Oregonian because that was no way to represent the state that *I* live in – but I do have two thoughts on this possibility.

    A. This is a display of grace on the part of U of O. Allowing Blount to play in the last four games of the usual season – and more if they make it to a bowl game – would make the possibility of his becoming a major (national?) league player more realistic, certainly. And as a Chrisitian, I’m kinda big on displays of grace. It’s a good thing.

    B. This seems to be part of a recurring pattern for the UO/Blount relationship. He’s been suspended from the team before for behavioral problems, and how many times to you suspend/reinstate someone before admitting that the tactic is getting neither party anywhere? Moreover, does this set up a precedent for how other behavior problems will be dealt with, and is that good or bad? I think as a nation, we’re moving farther and farther away from seeing things like displays of temper as matters of personal responsibility that can carry lifelong consequences. I’m not sure age really has anything to do with it once the law judges you an adult.

    Reply
  4. William (Portland, OR)

    Look- Blount Punched hout in the Mouth for Popping off to him after the game. It’s not Ethical or Proper but i guarantee that no player from Boise will EVER AGIAN be rude and discurtious to a player from the losing team. Even hout’s COACH heard what he said and stormed over to pull him away from Blount but was a little late. This is a SPORTMANSHIP type game and if hout doesn’t have the common curtesy to celebrate with his own team and decides he going to go to the opposing teams player and trash talk him, then he deserves to get popped in the mouth.
    As far as the re-instatement goes, i believe thats a good decision. I saw 2 weeks after the Blount/Hout incident 4 players from 2 different teams get into a fist fight and a couple players got thrown to the ground and kicked. NOT ONE of the 8 players got fined, suspended or even so much as a 20 second clip on ESPN.

    The NCAA needs to put a rule in effect that correspondes to everyone. If you fight with an opposing teams player your either gone or suspended for a while. Not just letting each teams head coach determine the punishment of their players.

    Besides the embarressment of the situation, There was nothing wrong with what went down and yeah to ruin someones Career they’ve been building for 22 years because you smack someone trash talking you is a little excesive.
    William—> Portland, OR 97210

    Reply

Enter the conversation here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: