The Gregorian calendar – the one used by most of the world today – began because of a papal edict in October 1582. It had to be an accident such that almost 440 years after the institution of the new calendar, the day symbolized as “2/22/22” would fall on a Tuesday. Or maybe there was some sort of alien intervention they have been keeping secret all these years…?
If you follow college basketball even a little bit, you know by now that Michigan coach Juwan Howard and members of the Wisconsin coaching staff got into a “physical confrontation” and Howard threw a punch. Here is the short form of how this came to be:
- Wisconsin led Michigan by 15 points with about 30 seconds left in the game. Wisconsin had the benchwarmers in the game to finish it out. [Good and proper move.]
- Howard ordered his team to press. [Perfectly within the rules of the game but a futile gesture at best.]
- Wisconsin players on the court could not handle the press so Wisconsin coach Greg Gard called a timeout. [Perfectly within the rules of the game but hardly necessary.]
- In the “handshake line” the coaches exchanged words making sure the other guy knew that none of that late game nonsense was appreciated and things escalated quickly from there.
[Aside: The “handshake line” is symbolic nonsense; the expressions of “good game” by the winners and the losers is anything but heartfelt. Getting rid of the “handshake line” would be a big plus for college basketball when they go through the rules’ change process this off-season.]
Juwan Howard has been suspended for 5 games – which is for the rest of the regular season. Greg Gard will not be suspended but will pay a $10K fine. Both were in violation of the Big-10 “sportsmanship policy” but only Howard actually threw a punch which landed gently on a Wisconsin assistant coach. So, the debate item of the day would be formally presented in this way:
- Resolved: Juwan Howard received a punishment whose severity matches the impropriety of his action(s).
The reason this statement would never make it as a real debate topic is that there are three possible sides to take. Howard’s punishment is “just right;” Howard’s punishment is “too severe;” and Howard’s punishment is “too lenient”. Call this a Goldilocks’ debate topic if you will.
My position is that the punishment is a bit lenient. No, I do not think Juwan Howard should be terminated as the Michigan coach and cast aside by the Big-10; that would be going overboard. I do think that he should be suspended for any and all tournament games that Michigan may play this year (both the Conference Tournament and the NCAA or NIT Tournaments). This is not Juwan Howard’s first physical confrontation with an opposing coach; he and Mark Turgeon got into it last year and the two had to be physically restrained. Howard’s punch in this incident was harmless; the recipient cannot have suffered any physical injury from it. Nonetheless, recidivism should be punished far more severely than a “first offense” lest the behavior become more frequent.
There is another point here. When I watched the replay of the “handshake line” and the subsequent melee, my mind immediately focused on an item that I had on my clipboard for future comment in a rant. It turns out that the city of Rome, NY had to cancel the balance of two youth basketball leagues due to “poor parent behavior.” One league was for 3rd and 4th Grade Boys and the other league was for 5th and 6th Grade Boys. It was not a single incident that caused the cancelations; over the course of the season; two coaches had already resigned from their positions due to “parent interactions” and it turned out that the program overseers thought it necessary to assign a police officer to be at all the game venues. Here is a link to the report on this situation in the Rome Sentinel.
Two hundred kids participated in the two leagues; those kids are being deprived of an activity they obviously enjoy because some chronological adults cannot behave like actual adults. As someone who officiated hundreds of recreation league games for kids, the action taken by the authorities in Rome NY is very disheartening to me because I have seen how much enjoyment kids derive from such games.
And that is another reason why I believe Juwan Howard’s punishment is too lenient. His loss of control and his demonstrated behavior has been seen now by millions of people some of whom are predisposed to turn a basketball game into a melee. It is wrong when it is a game at the Big-10 level and it is wrong when it is a game at the 3rd and 4th Grade Boys level too.
Switching gears now… Let me return to a topic I have commented on previously – the Lia Thomas situation and the women’s swimming competition. I am sorry to bring this up because I am certain that many folks have heard more than enough about the matter. However, I have come to a conclusion as to how we can accommodate transgender individuals in athletic competitions. For years – and continuing into the current times – it has been acceptable and even enlightened to arrange for separate competitions for men and women. The number of sports where women and men compete separately far outnumber the sports where they compete on an equal footing. So, if that is acceptable and sustainable, then why not expand the concept to include:
Seems to me like “problem solved”…
Finally, let me close today with some advice for those parents in Rome, NY who caused the cancelation of those basketball leagues. The advice comes from Voltaire, and it explains how one succeeds in the world:
“To succeed in the world, it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
2 thoughts on “Is Today Tuesday – – Or Twos Day?”
I think the real reason Howard was so upset is the he got out coached and his team got out played.
Given the high regard for Michigan at the beginning of this season and the current mediocrity of the team, I think Howard is probably working on his last nerve about now. Getting trounced by Wisconsin did not do his demeanor any favors…
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