November 3, 2009
Urban Meyer with wife and daughter after winning the Georgia game. AP Photo Stephen Morton
The Florida Gators football coach, Urban Meyer, suspended his star linebacker Brandon Spikes for the first half of this week’s game against Vanderbilt. In case you haven’t heard, Spikes attempted to gouge the eyes of opposing Georgia Bulldogs player, Washaun Ealey, who was at the bottom of the pile and defenseless.
This is the YouTube of the play:
According to Meyer it was "not what Spikes or the team is about." Golden boy Tim Tebow, who is frequently heralded for his missionary work as a Christian, was quoted as saying “I don’t think we did anything that the opposing team didn’t do.” Is Tebow is invoking the "eye for an eye" clause in the Bible?
I am an apologist for the University of Texas, their quarterback Colt McCoy and head coach Mack Brown; however, until this incident, I was an admirer of Florida, Meyer and Tebow. Not anymore.
Like it or not, athletes are admired by our children. Florida, Meyer and Tebow have been thrust upon America and its children as examples of winners who are also model citizens. As such, they have a responsibility to America and its children to rise above wins and losses and set the example. If they didn’t want the responsibility, they never should have allowed ESPN and other publications to represent them as such. The reason they did allow the representation was to set Tebow up for another Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and because model citizens have a better chance of winning.
How can Florida, Meyer and Tebow allow the penalty for attempted eye gouging to only be a suspension of one half of a football game? If this happened in our local school, the child might be expelled, certainly suspended for longer than half a day. Turning a blind eye to an attempted blinding of another player is not saintly, not Christian-like and certainly not setting a positive example for other children.
In fact, it shows that winning at any cost is more important than winning by the rules of the game, much less the rules of society and common decency. Acts, like this, that go unpunished only proves that some people in sports have a different standard to live by and as long as the athlete is the best, they can just about do anything they want. It seemingly justifies that a school that is chasing a national championship and big time money from wealthy boosters can dole out a punishment which doesn’t fit the crime.
And this is what they teach our children.
Fortunately my child is only 4 ½ and will never hear or see this ugly incident. And fortunately, Washaun Ealey can still see. Let us hope that older children will see this for what it is.