Let me be clear about the punch thrown by Oregon's LeGarrette Blount in the aftermath of the Ducks humiliating defeat at the hands of Boise State: It has no place in collegiate athletics and his year-long suspension is severe, but justified.
But let's talk about the other guy, the guy that instigated all this. The guy who thought that he'd fire some inappropriate and insulting trash talk at a guy who had to be pretty disappointed at the result of the game.
It may be true that Blount's actions were those of a sore loser, but Hout in some ways was even worse. They were the actions of a poor winner, whose victory on the field was somehow not enough without a chance to humiliate a player on the other side.
The game was over.
So while the entire country seems to agree that Blount's punch was somewhat of a cheap shot (a sentiment I agree with), I would also contend that charging and bumping into an opposing player whom you've just defeated on the field of play is also a cheap shot. The kind that, outside the bounds of a football stadium, would be something that might get you punched in the face.
Don't let your mouth write a check that your ass can't cash.
Isn't that how the saying goes?
Hout charged Blount as a charlatan, talking garbage that he thought he could get away with, like the little brother who talks trash because he knows his older brother will keep him from getting his ass kicked.
What did he say?
Well the reports are all over the map, some quite shocking, others mere cheap shots, but I'm not sure (as a reader points out below) that the exact substance really matters. It was clearly disrespectful to say the least.
And you know what? You go out of your way to come over and insult me after I just lost a very disappointing game?
Guess what? My initial reaction is going to be to want to punch you in the face.
In the aftermath, Oregon made a clear statement that it doesn't condone the type of sportsmanship displayed by its star running back. Coach Chip Kelly immediately suspended Blount for the entire season, his senior season. This was a season that was special not just because of the opportunity to finish up a collegiate career on a good team, but because Blount is an NFL prospect.
His punch has cost him dearly: his college career and possibly a lot of money and a professional future.
In this measure, I think the suspension is a little extreme because it costs him so much. Half a year would be more appropriate, but let's give Oregon some credit for drawing a clear line in the sand.
On the other side, the man responsible for this entire encounter is not being suspended at all. Nothing.
The coward who slandered a man while he was down because he thought he could get away with it, was in fact, correct. He did get away with it.
At Boise State, apparently anything goes.
Already notorious for its unsavory fans, who were also heard screaming the F-word at Blount as well as threatening him with folding chairs, the inaction of the Boise State football program in regard to Hout borders on approval.
I'm invoking the man rules here. I'll be first to tell you that in everyday society we can't have people randomly punching people, but any athlete knows that on the playground, Hout gets punched in the face and probably a little bit more. Then he sucks it up, deals with it, and hopefully learns a lesson.
What lesson is he learning here? What lesson is Boise State (a supposed academic institution) teaching him?
Hout deserved to get punched in the face. If Boise State is incapable of policing its own players and fans, then vigilante justice is the only justice in town.
You'd think a school in the wild wild West could deal with that.