Unequal Justice: Some Thoughts on the Oregon Punching Incident
When I saw Oregon running back LaGarrett Blount punch Boise State player Byron Hout and nearly go after fans in the stands after the Ducks' 18-8 loss in Boise this past Thursday, I was a bit surprised someone could do that.
Especially after the NCAA made so much of sportsmanship this weekend, mandating that teams shake hands at midfield before games.
The University of Oregon did the right thing in suspending Blount, a senior, for the remainder of the season. He was clearly wrong in what he did and made a grave error in judgement, which ultimately cost him his college career.
However, it is clear that justice was delivered unevenly...
Byron Hout, who provoked Blount when he tapped him on the shoulder and apparently taunted him, should have been suspended as well.
Instead, officials at Boise State announced Hout would not be suspended, and that the matter would be handled "internally."
In layman's terms, this means Hout will likely do no more than run a few extra laps and perform extra calisthenics in practice.
Sure, many people will say Blount should have ignored Hout and there is never any excuse for physical violence.
I do not disagree with that and I want to make that clear. But if Hout did what he should have done, which was keep his mouth shut and show good sportsmanship and compassion after his Broncos dominated the Ducks, this incident would not have happened.
It was fairly obvious that he was talking smack to Blount, as the video tape shows Boise StateCoach Chris Peterson grabbing him and pushing him away right before the punch. Hout definitely wasn't telling Blount, "good game."
In short, Hout was the one who caused all of this, and compared to Blount, he's getting away with it scott-free.
This clearly sends a message that while hitting is not okay and will get you in big trouble, taunting someone will only get you a slap on the wrist. That's why I am convinced that while what Blount did was unacceptable, the justice and punishments were completely unfair.
Hout should be suspended for at least four games, and if Boise State won't do it, the Western Athletic Conference or the NCAA should.
They need to send a message that like hitting and other physical violence, taunting should never be tolerated in any circumstances.
I don't think I can make my point any clearer than that.
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