This just in, not too nice things sometimes happen on football fields.
On Saturday, one of those not too nice exchanges occurred between Brandon Spikes and Washaun Easley. During a gang tackle, Spikes reached into Easley's helmet with a "nyuck, nyuck, nyuck" and an eye poke.
The play was dirty, unsportsmanlike, and unlike the LeGarrette Blount sucker punch, happens in at least half of the football games played.
When calling for stiffer suspensions it is important to retain a measure of relativity. The punishment should fit the crime, and really, how often does a dirty play inside of the whistles warrant a major suspension?
In the case of Blount vs Spikes remember that football rules don't apply after the final whistle blows. Physicality is generally frowned upon when actual law is applied, and that is the fundamental difference between the two. What Blount did is wholly illegal, while Spikes' actions were just dirty.
Those calling for Spikes' punishment to be up to the level of Blount's need to get a clue. While a half–game suspension seems light, it is a whole lot more discipline than 99 percent of the eye gougers get.
Blount deserved the season long suspension because he acted outside of the game. Had he punched Hout inside of the three to four hours where you're allowed to hit another human being, he probably would have seen a much lighter sentence.
Spikes didn't let his emotions get to him when he's supposed to act like a normal human being. He acted out while he's given the green light to hit people hard enough to send them to the hospital. Is this really any worse than a helmet to helmet hit (also against the football rules)?
That's not meant to be a stamp of approval for Spikes' action. Dirty play is dirty play, and Spikes is now labeled as a dirty player, at least in the public's eye. He got what he deserved because he got caught, but I think the outcry is a bit much in this case.
To some, Urban Meyer looks like he's going soft on one of his best defensive players, but the reality is, this is only a big deal because some lucky cameraman caught it in HD. Without that angle nobody ever knows about this.
Why? Because the real football guys aren't going to make a big deal out of a dirty play in a pile.
Think about it; after the game, Richt didn't call attention to the play, Easley hasn't spoken on the matter, and anyone who watched the game saw at least 10 other equally dirty plays from both sides that could have evoked the same outcry.
This happens all the time, and I don't expect a reaction from any of Georgia's football guys. Also, they weren't exactly saints out there who were undeservedly attacked by a bloodthirsty Florida linebacker.
Need I remind everyone that the ref called both Tebow and Georgia defensive captain Marcus Dowtin aside and warned them that the game was getting too rough?
This was nothing more than one of over a hundred plays during a heated rivalry game, and I doubt anyone on the field would have remembered it without the media reaction. Hell, the big media didn't even react until blogs, Youtube, and Twitter were flooded with the video.
So put your pitchforks down and stop screaming for blood. Spikes did something wrong, and he got punished for it. While it seems like a big deal and Spikes is getting away with murder, it's really a lot closer to getting community service for a minor offense that he only got nailed for because of a busted taillight.
Update: Brandon Spikes has excused himself from the remainder of the Vanderbilt game effectively raising his suspension to one full game. He claimed that he did not want to be seen as a distraction and that his playing on the field would cause issues.