Marquel Wade Doesn't Deserve Major Criticism for Honest Mistake vs. Vanderbilt

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2011

OXFORD,  MS - OCTOBER 22:   Marquel Wade #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks salutes the crowd after a big run against the Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Oxford, Mississippi.  The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 29 to 24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas wide receiver Marquel Wade was ejected from Saturday's game against Vanderbilt after pummeling Jonathan Krause, who was setting up to return a punt. While removing Wade from the game was the correct decision, that should be the extent of the punishment.

Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports was one of many to heavily criticize Wade following the play.

We've seen some cheap shots this year, but Arkansas' Marquel Wade put them all to shame today with an illegal hit on Vanderbilt's Jonathan Krause while Krause was trying to field a punt.

What you can't see on this video is Wade celebrating after the illegal hit and ultimately getting ejected. As Wade left the field, he continued to taunt Vanderbilt fans.

Wade clearly made a mistake, and being ejected from a close game in the third quarter is a pretty major consequence. Not to mention having to deal with all the negative publicity that arose from his reaction to the play.

What was going through his head as he approached Krause, only he knows, but it's hard to imagine he made the decision to crush a defenseless player knowing the possible ramifications. He was just trying to make a big play to spark his struggling team.

The Razorbacks were trailing 21-17 at the time, and the freshman simply got a bit overzealous in trying to flip momentum in Arkansas' favor. He wasn't the only player to go for the hit, either. As soon as he delivered the blow, another Razorback comes flying in the same direction.

So, Wade and his teammate were both fooled by Krause, who was unfortunately injured on the play. But the way Wade's been treated over the past 24 hours make it seem like there was definite malicious intent on his part, which is unlikely.

Intent to injure and an honest mistake are two different things. Wade wasn't attempting to hurt Krause; he just wanted to force a fumble. Watch him as he gets up from the hit; he looks around to find a loose ball, which of course didn't exist.

While his showboating following the play was uncalled for, it's unclear whether he truly understood what he had done. He was probably still under the assumption he had made a nice play.

He was forced to sit out two quarters of a game with BCS implications and will need to earn his playing time back before coach Bobby Petrino sends him back out on special teams. That's punishment enough until Wade can explain his side of the story.