I’m sure there are more important things in the world than a melee at a collegiate basketball game.  Unfortunately, the brawl in Cincinnati will be handled in much the same way we seem to handle most of these violent outbursts in society today; a tear-filled apologetic presser, an anemic response by governing authorities and possibly a future stint in a rehab clinic for anger management issues.  Can community service be far behind?  Cross off the appropriate boxes and atonement is complete.  On to the next lucrative free agent contract.

Ask them, they'll tell you they respected each other...

I gave up on the NBA many years ago as I watched one legend after another exit the game.  Sure there were unchecked emotions at times, one of the more memorable for me was Larry putting the squeeze on Julius’s windpipe.  Heated rivalry I guess.  But it wasn’t standard everyday fare.  It was the exception.   When Larry, Dr. J and Magic unlaced the converses for the final time, the league started to change.  It was more about the revenue, less about the game, less about the sportsmanship, less about the fans and more about the self.  Everyone wanted to be the highlight reel, everyone wanted the rock, pass and shoot was gone.  It turned into “my ball, dunk, I got my stats, call my agent. “ I switched to March Madness thinking I was seeing the sport at its purest.  I was wrong.

I understand the level of competitive intensity that might, might, send one into a fit of rage.  But what happened in Cincinnati was more than that.  This was well thought out, this was something that was more important than the game, more important than anyone’s safety, anyone’s integrity or anyone’s job.  This was personal.  Someone got “disrespected.” Well, that explains it.

Listen for yourself to Tu Holloway justify his boorish behavior in his own words. Then marvel at how we can create young men in this society who think that this is ever a proper way to handle “disrespect.”  It used to be that trash talk was met with stoic determination followed by an embarrassment in the box score, leaving the trash talker only to skulk away in his arrogance and shame.  Holloway’s justifications were more egregious than his behavior and show a personality that’s more deviant than immature.

But of course, big money taints everyone and everything and so it must be with the NCAA.  While there are thousands of deserving students struggling to get into college, we have this class of buffoons and one-trick ponies crapping all over an opportunity others can never dream of.  If you think a six game suspension sends a message, well then darn it, we’ll see no more fisticuffs the rest of this year for sure, and a real clean season next year too.

It’s clear that these young men have no idea of what personal integrity means.  Then again, neither do Xavier, Cincinnati or the NCAA.   Remember, the NCAA holds at its core valuesThe highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship” as well as “Respect for institutional autonomy and philosophical differences.”  Of course, that ‘s unless something more core gets in the way, like ticket and network revenue.

I don’t want to see anyone’s life or career ruined over one stupid event.  I do however, feel that these boys in men’s bodies who consider themselves “gansta” aren’t going to learn integrity in an environment where their whims are catered to and their transgressions are washed away.   At the very least, they should receive a punishment that will teach them not to “disrespect” themselves and the rest of society.

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