Top Five Eye-Opening Alternative Punishments for Florida's Brandon Spikes
University of Florida’s Brandon Spikes showed his true character this week when he self-imposed a full game’s suspension on himself for allegedly attempting to gouge the eyes of an opponent.
Citing his intention not to be a distraction to his team, Spikes will sit out the entire game Saturday against Vanderbilt, a team that has not won a conference game—and several other games, for that matter—this season. For a move this meaningful, Spikes has all but wrapped up a spot in the “Real Men of Genius” advertising campaign.
Some have attempted to defend Spikes’ actions by claiming they were borne of emotion. Apparently the eyes are a popular target when competition gets heated. Even Georgia player Washaun Ealey, who was the recipient of the stray fingers inside his helmet, said he thought the Gator defender shouldn’t be suspended, which perhaps gave strength to another argument that “everyone does it.”
If that’s the case, then Spikes merely had the “misfortune” of getting caught, and, sadly, character is that pesky thing that governs what you do when no one is watching. Worst of all, Florida coach Urban Meyer claimed Spikes was retaliating for earlier actions in the game. Ahh, the “but he hit me first” argument reminiscent of childhood.
Seriously, how difficult would it be to give Spikes the benefit of the doubt? After all, it was Halloween. Maybe he mistook the black Grambling-tribute helmets for a witch’s cauldron and hoped it might contain some miniature treats. Maybe he feared his mouth guard or a contact had fallen inside.
But none of those rationalizations comes close to excusing such juvenile behavior. Even Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount’s punch to the face (not that I’m advocating it) is a permissible move in mixed martial arts. Spikes’ eye gouging, not so much.
If the Florida Gators and the SEC want to hand down a more meaningful punishment than sitting on the bench against a conference also-ran to Spikes for his actions, they might consider any one of the following:
Free Sunglasses: Spikes could pass out free sunglasses to the first 1,000 fans through the gates at The Swamp. It would show he cares about shielding the eyes of others from harmful UV rays, not to mention his fingers if things get “emotional.”
Eye Exam Advocate: What better way to flaunt your reformed ways than by encouraging others to take care of their peepers? Maybe he could sign autographs at a local eye care center, and even poke you in the eyes if an exam isn’t quite necessary just yet.
"Eye Product" Spokesman: Why not parlay this incident into a little humorous notoriety? Spikes could push mattresses for shut-eye, promote an airline’s red-eye flights or even give a little dating advice for making eyes at someone.
News Reporter/Meteorologist: Not only could Spikes provide eyewitness accounts of the local news, but also he could give updates on the eye locations of approaching hurricanes.
Perform “Eye of the Tiger” at the Bama-LSU Game: Spikes could fill his self-imposed bye week by providing a little bit of motivation for the Bayou Bengals. It could go a long way in healing some of the open wounds of the Tiger fans, who suffered their only loss to the Gators.
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