Open Mic: Jake Locker, Refs, and ESPN Announcers: Oh My!

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst ISeptember 7, 2008

ESPN and their ever-expanding arrogance have taken another swipe at the administration of sport. Why should we be surprised?

The latest crime against humanity, according to our Bristol overseers, is the celebration penalty called on the University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker after he scored a touchdown in the last seconds of their game against BYU.

Locker tossed the ball far into the air after scoring, which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call. The ensuing PAT was blocked and BYU held on for a victory.

The administrators of college football have made this kind of thing a point of emphasis with the game officials. They have told the coaches, who have instructed the players. Somehow, a gaggle of commentators who cover a majority of the games missed the memo.

This wasn't some simple toss. If Wilt Chamberlain was standing on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's shoulders while Kareem was standing on Shaq O'Neal's shoulders, the ball would have passed The Stilt's eye level.

Yet, if something happens that a couple of their talking heads don't like, well of course it's a travesty. They best get a firm grip of themselves before they completely devolve into a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

There is no doubt the Eastern Sports Propaganda Network has their sacred cows. Given Willingham is a former Notre Dame coach, one can expect Holtz to have his back. Whether the others at the network were supporting Holtz, had their own reasons for bleating, or just couldn't help squeaking when they saw the tasty cheese is immaterial. Objective reporting remains securely locked away in some musty and dank closet back in Connecticut.

If someone thinks a rule is improper, of course they have the right to talk about the rule. That is not what the commentators at ESPN are doing though. They decry the suppression of the exuberance of youth. They misrepresent facts to the degree that the ball was thrown into the air.

This is also the network which glorifies the showboating antics of folks like Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson (I reserve the right to refer to him by his given name, not some legal stunt), filling SportsCenter segments and all kinds of commercials with such self-promoting tactics. So one can reasonably question their motives.

The game was actually on Fox, who has, for the most, part surrendered the role of reporting for what can be described as live action cartoon programming such as "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." Their in-studio commentator graduated from Washington, so given the level of bias involved, his position can easily be dismissed.

These "reporters" are forgetting college is a learning environment. Coaches teach teamwork, responsibility, and self-discipline along with the plays. Locker flunked a quiz, not a final exam. However, there is no way you can hang the loss on him alone. 

Locker didn't blow a blocking assignment which allowed the PAT to be blocked. Sure, the penalty pushed it back 15 yards farther than the normal PAT. Who actually thinks that made the kick difficult? It was a kick any coach, player, or fan expects to be made.

This is a team loss for Washington. Sure it has a bitter flavor. But anybody who is crying about the proper application of rules is exercising him or herself to no good effect.