College Blog Blog Network

Sportsmanship — Do you have it?

11.09.09 at 2:59 pm ET

Studies showing a correlation between sports and violence are as common a ground ball to the second baseman. Throughout history, sports often have been used as an alternative to warfare. Yet, despite our ability to be “civilized,” we often see acts of violence stem from poor sportsmanship, especially at the collegiate level. What has happened to sportsmanship, and why are incidents like these ever increasing?

LaGarrette Bount throws a knockout punch

You remember this one, right? The irony here is two-fold. Leading up to the game, Blount bragged about his team and predicted a win for the Oregon Ducks. While not a terrible thing, it seems odd in light of the sportsmanship ceremony that was held during the coin toss of the game, an event that Blount participated in. Skip to the end of the game and Blount is punching out Boise State linebacker Byron Hout for returning the favor and talking a little smack of his own after his team won the game.

Judging from Blount’s reaction, Hout probably had some choice words for him. But what’s the point of being a part of a sportsmanship ceremony if you’re going to punch someone for talking no more smack than you did, but had the ability to back it up? Blount apologized for his actions but was still suspended for the year. However, there has been some recent talk about reinstating him.

Brandon Spikes auditions for WWE

This was a bit ridiculous. Spikes claims that Georgia’s Washaun Ealey had done something similar to him and his actions were simply retaliation. When did that become OK? The game of football is a violent sport with enough chances to be injured unintentionally. Perhaps Spikes missed that lesson about not retaliating because you always get caught.

This leads to another issue. Florida officially suspended him for one half of football against Vanderbilt. Really? That’s the going rate for an eye gouge these days? Kudos to Spikes for lengthening his own suspension. It shows character to not only fess up to wrongdoing but to also suggest an appropriate punishment.

Women’s football gets chippy
I know this a soccer game, but some of the stunts that took place between New Mexico and BYU seem more suited to a football field. The idea of a completely non-contact sport these days is far-fetched. All labeled non-contact sports have some aspect of physicality, but this is a bit much. I’ve never seen hair-pulling used with such effectiveness.

Despite all of that, New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert only received one yellow card, for tripping inside the box. Of all her actions that day, the trip was the least violent, and that is what got her a penalty.

We’ve all played in games where the heat of the moment has gotten the better of us and do something against the rules. It just seems like there has been a sudden increase in poor sportsmanship across the board. We need to remind ourselves and those athletes we love to watch that competition should be the driving pursuit of sports. And winning, winning is important, too, but not at the cost of sportsmanship.