I don't care if the picture for this article is not very good. I don't care if I don't watch enough Oregon Duck football games to consider myself a die-hard fan.
My family are Ducks fans. I went to the Rose Bowl in 1995 when Oregon played Penn State. The Ducks are an important part of my family's life.
This article is not just about what happened af the end of the Oregon Duck's 2009 season opener against the Boise State Broncos...It's about the way mainstream media sensationalizes piffle incidents to scare people.
I am sure that LeGarrette Blount has a ton of problems. I am positive he is a very difficult person to work with. I would bet that Oregon had had it with his antics.
But LeGarrette Blount is a tough player that leads the Oregon Ducks in scoring for a season with 17 touchdowns.
He has the potential to have a promising NFL career.
After Oregon got embarassed by Boise State in the season opener...one of Boise State's players (Byron Hout) ran up to Blount. Hout shoved him, and insulted him.
It was bad sportsmanship.
It is the reason Byron Hout got punched in the face shortly thereafter by LeGarrette Blount.
It is the reason LeGarrette Blount lost his cool and shoved his teammates, struggled with security, and ran at fans for Boise State.
RAN at them. Not ATTACKED them.
Tell that fact (which is clearly captured on camera) to ESPN.
The Entertaiment Sports Programming Network puts entertainment before sports. Whatever circus ESPN can find, whatever dirt they can use to smear an athlete...they will go with it.
Blount got insulted while cameras were pointed at him and a punch got thrown, and a scuffle broke out.
This scuffle was not only a piffle incident in the history of violence in sports...it was a piffle incident in the history of violence period.
Some big kids got mad.
That's all. End of story...
Except they got mad when cameras were pointing at them. Cameras controlled by an entertainment network that saw a chance to draw ratings.
This punch has been played over and over. It is a YouTube sensation.
And who gets the blame?
LaGerrette Blount gets the blame for showing emotions of a human nature.
Mere hours after the incident, even Oregon's own sports columnist John Canzano, who has never written anything risky, demanded LeGarrette Blount be taken out for the season. Canzano uses the same petty logic, almost the same writing, as a FOX Sports News or an ESPN analyist.
Now, without even so much as a objective review of the incident, LeGarrette Blount gets tossed from the team for the rest of the season.
The season is over.
His college career is over.
And for what?
No, a scuffle broadcast by people who care more about entertainment than sports.
An entertainment company that knows that no matter what the image captures...how they report on the image becomes the reality.
For example: In 2004, the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons had a brawl which spilled into the stands. ESPN reported it was the "worst thing they have ever seen" in pro basketball.
Yet the NBA was filled with numerous violent incidents far, far worse throughout its entire existence.
ESPN knew that. But they reported what would be more entertaining, thus more sensational, thus scaring people into reacting a certain way.
ESPN, and the overblown coverage that followed, scared the University of Oregon into throwing away a young life and ruining their season.
A simple examination of the video shows that LeGarrette was provoked.
The player who provoked him (Hoyt..who STARTED it) goes virtually unpunished.
Furthermore: The video shows that Boise State coach Chris Peterson was not only inches away from Hout, but that he had to have HEARD what Hoyt said that caused LeGarrette to throw the punch.
Is there any doubt that whatever Hoyt was said was reprehensible?
Yet Chris Peterson denies he heard what was said.
Impossible! The video discredits that. Peterson was right there. He tried to pull Hoyt out of harm's way. He was directly within earshot of the slanderous statement which provoked the incident.
The physical evidence on the videotape doesn't corroborate his story!
Peterson is lying!
Last but not least: The video shows that LeGarrette clearly pulled his punch.
LeGarrette clipped Hoyt in the jaw.
Then he wrestled around a bit with some big guys.
The reality is that this was what the world refers to as a "nothing burger."
Yet LeGarrette's career...and Oregon's season...is over.
That's not justice. That's not the punishment fitting the crime.
That is rookie Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly making a decision based on the pressure put on the University of Oregon via what was reported about the scuffle on TV.
Far too often in this world, people see the facts staring them right in the face...but without doing a subjective investigation, they just listen to what the TV says.
The Oregon Ducks didn't mess up their season by playing a reprehensible game against Boise State. The messed up their season by making the reprehensible decision to not take a deep breath and think things over before reacting.
That's the same thing LeGarrette did.
What a tragic shame.
I blame ESPN.