Or rather, “bar-fighting hooligans will be bar-fighting hooligans.” Even if you give them a basketball scholarship.
That lesson is being learned the hard way at Missouri, which just yesterday suspended five players for getting in a bar fight at a downtown nightclub called Athena — though I suppose that will happen at a bar named after the goddess of war.
Oh, but those silly college highjinks have hardly been limited to Columbia, MO.
No sir, in fact, on ESPN’s main college basketball page yesterday, five out of eight stories revolved around suspended players. And if you recall just before the season started, an old friend of ours here at The Cut, Mike Davis, had five players get arrested for fighting at a club down at UAB (five must be the magic number when it come to inter-squad rumbles).
What’s so goofy is the response taken by the coaching staff and universities. With every single one of these stories, the immediate news is that the players are suspended “indefinitely.” It’s the perfect cover. They take action, which subdues the media outpour, and once things calm down, the proverbial slap of the wrist can be applied.
I mean, just give this line from the Missouri story another closer look:
Anderson implemented what he called a “zero-tolerance” policy after junior forward DeMarre Carroll — his nephew — was shot in the ankle outside another Columbia nightclub over the summer.
Yeah, you know, once my nephew got shot, we figured it was about time to issue that “zero tolerance” policy. What do we mean by “zero tolerance?” Well, you know, the guys can still go out and hit the clubs, get a little tipsy, maybe pull a Jeramy Stevens on some freshman jersey chaser… but if they get in a brawl with each other that requires the cops to break it up, I mean, my hands will be tied. I’m gonna have to suspend them a game or two.
C’mon coaches. You ask your fans to be good sports. Why not require your players to be good people?