Out of Bounds: Suspensions should fit the crime

 Suspensions, suspensions, suspensions. 

There have been disciplinary actions galore this football season.  

No, not the pro’s, this happened in the college ranks and some of them are just downright stupid.  

The latest suspension handed down to a player was a season long suspension for junior wide receiver Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State.  

Bryant was rated by NFL draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. as the top wide receiver in the country and a shoe in to be a top 15 draft pick.  

So what did he do to receive this yearlong suspension? 

Well, he ran with Deion Sanders and then went to his house for dinner.  

When the NCAA learned that Bryant had hung out with Sanders they interrogated him, old police show style – it probably wasn’t that extreme, but you can’t put anything past the NCAA – and thinking that he violated a rule he lied to them about it.  

After learning that it wasn’t a violation of any NCAA rules, Bryant came out and admitted he lied about what had happened.  

That’s it.  

He didn’t accept gifts like a certain University of Southern California running back that plays for a certain New Orleans team who won the Heisman and was never suspended.  

He wasn’t caught using steroids like a Texas Christian University player who was drafted in the first round and plays for the San Diego Chargers.  

He lied when the NCAA backed him into a corner, and then admitted he lied after that…and got suspended for the ENTIRE 09-10 season.  

What sense does that make? 

The NCAA single handedly ended this kid’s college career, since he is expected to enter the NFL draft after this season.  

Now let’s look at Oregon senior running back LeGarrette Blount who after the first game of the season punched a Boise State player in the face after the player taunted him following a Boise State win.  

He was immediately suspended for the entire year by Oregon.  

This time it was Oregon effectively ending this kid’s college career.  

Now I’m not defending Blount’s punch at all, but should he shoulder all the blame? 

Not at all.  

But a season long suspension? 

Considering the whole situation, five games would have been fine; half the season maybe, but definitely not his college career.  

Being taunted after a humiliating defeat is something that could cause anyone to snap.  

What if you and someone else were interviewing for a CEO position at a big name company, but after the interviews are over the person making the decisions gathers both of you in his office and says, I’m sorry but we are going with the other person.  

Your humiliated, angry, sad, a mix of emotions and as you turn to leave the person who got the job stands up, points at you, laughs, and says derogatory things about you.  

Now how many seconds do you wait to punch that person in the face? Two? Three? 

You just can’t do something like that and not expect retaliation. 

This was reminiscent of another fight but on a much larger scale, and that would be the famous Ron Artest, jump into the crowd and do his best Hanson Brothers impersonation from Slap Shot.  

Who got the biggest suspension? 

Artest of course.  

But do you remember who actually started the fight? 

That would be Ben Wallace. Why does this not get remembered? 

Just watch the video of it one day, if Wallace just goes to the bench none of that fan punching happens.  

But I digress, one more example.  

In last weekend’s games No. 1 ranked Florida was playing Georgia and on one play Florida’s Preseason All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes tackled Georgia running back Washaun Ealey and then stuck his fingers in the helmet, trying to gouge Ealey’s eyes.  

This was an intentional act, trying to injure an opposing player, in a move that would be illegal if Spikes tried to use it against Brock Lesnar in the UFC.  

Anyone want to take a guess how many games he was suspended for by the NCAA?  

That would be the same number of games I’ve played in the NCAA.  

So his team stepped in and laid out a suspension since they deemed his actions illegal and unsportsmanlike.  

The suspension they laid out…one half of their upcoming game against Vanderbilt.  

One half.  

That’s 30 minutes.  

30 minutes for trying to gouge out someone’s eyes unprovoked.  

So to recap, Dez Bryant lied to the NCAA, but later apologized and acknowledged he lied, gone for the season.  

LeGarrette Blount, provoked after a game and punched that person in the face, gone for the season.  

Brandon Spikes, unprovoked attack on an opposing player trying to gouge his eyes, 30 minute suspension.  

Yeah those suspensions seem fair.  

Something that gets lost in these incidents is that these players are still kids.  

And what happens when you punish kids so severely for the smaller incidents?  

They resent you and you get labeled a tyrant.  

And that’s exactly what the NCAA is proving, that it is just a tyrant who gets off on flexing its muscles and striking down vengeance on anyone for anything.  

Especially when something happens where it’s appropriate for a severe punishment, and instead they give out a punishment that doesn’t even qualify as a slap on the wrist.