A Different Perspective: Blame The Zebra’s

By Les Mirabeau
Updated: October 20, 2006

PHILADELPHIA—I must confess I’ve always loved the University of Miami Hurricanes. Having made that confession, I must also say that the recent irresponsible, hysterical, dooms-day comments of various sports commentators concerning the brawl at the University of Miami’s Orange Bowl are unfair and biased.

The commentators overlook the people who should shoulder some of the blame for allowing this sad terrible episode to occur. Namely are the game officials. The FIU-Miami game officials allowed numerous unsportsmanlike fouls to continually occur. Every team deserves protection from out of control players seeking to injure others but that was clearly not happening in this game.

I saw a game in which numerous personal fouls committed by FIU players, many of them flagrant, finally leading up to the one where two FIU players started the brawl by punching, body-slamming the UM extra point holder #16 Perrilli! Quite simply, the flagrant foul perpetrators should have been immediately thrown out of the game when they did their deeds. This would have stopped all the nonsense. But they weren’t and this emboldened FIU while slowly enraging Miami’s fans and players. Up to the point of the body slam, Miami’s players were a model of decorum; they had not retaliated and maintained their composure despite the cheap shots. This summary is for those who wondered why FIU meted out harsher punishments than Miami did for their players.

Imagine if it were Grambling vs. Ohio State instead of FIU and Miami. I think that the sports casters would immediately have focused on the game officials and only mildly reacted or defended Ohio State’s wrong headed response to defend their unprotected holder. The post game focus would be on the incompetent officials who lost control of the game thereby creating a dangerous situation. Tell me I’m lying!

But back to reality, I’m not justifying the fighting. But people need to understand the background so that they know this brawl didn’t just suddenly break out for no reason out of the blue. Anyone who saw the game cannot condone what occurred. Wrong is simply Wrong. So for that, Miami has selected appropriate punishments for their transgressors. Most were given one game suspensions and Anthony Reddick (who swung the helmet) was suspended indefinitely. I think that is more than fair.

Where I diverge from the MOB is that I can see the hidden agenda’s of these sportscasters and that agenda is not to be fair. When I hear TV commentators and columnists from around the country dredged up 20-year-old stories about the Hurricanes like; the Hurricanes wore Army fatigues to the Fiesta Bowl; Or how in the past they humiliated Texas in the Cotton Bowl 46-3 in 1991 while getting 202 yds in penalties; playing a series with Notre Dame that the media christened “the Convicts vs. the Catholics”; increasing complaints of end zone dances, and flying high fives after scores; their probation period in the mid nineties; and then dumping all of these past antics on UM’s current clean low key program.

In addition to the one game suspensions of the players, they also call for the mass firings of UM President Donna Shalala, A.D. Paul Dee and Coach Larry Coker, excommunication of the players involved from the school and all future athletics, criminal charges, abolishment the entire UM football program, taking away all of their TV’s, GameBoys and pets etc. Well, I added that last one. Nevertheless, these other statements are contrived, over the top, ugly, bigoted and it shows their bias.

Did these commentators call for the dismantling of the South Carolina and Clemson programs when they had their ugly brawl in 2004? What about the recent ugly Dartmouth –Holy Cross on field football team brawl that required state police to end it that occurred the same day? Oh it was just guys feeling their oats! My God Les, they are just boys letting off a little steam! Ol JimBob didn’t really mean to hit that other guy with his helmet as many of the players on both the Holy Cross and Dartmouth teams did during that fracas. But that’s different Les. Well it is “Different” isn’t it?

I have read numerous columns where the Miami players are called animals, criminals, thugs and worst. But anyone that visits the University of Miami website or knows these players individually can easily see that they are not anything approaching that. All are near or well ahead of their classes on the road to graduation. I have never heard any white athletes called these names regardless of how improper his actions were. He’s just a little misguided that’s all. So that is why Bill Romanowski for them is intense and UM players are thugs. The national media never even thought of even calling any of those involved with the possible actions of the Duke lacrosse team these names and would not even think of doing so even if they were found guilty!

The Miami coaches, athletic director and University President have worked very hard to improve the program to the point where the University of Miami is a class program with one of the highest graduation rates in the NCAA. The commentators chose to focus on a very outdated image of UM. The facts are that there were 85 Hurricane players on the field last Saturday, only 13 of them got involved and only a few of those 13 did those very stupid things. For that they are being punished by the University of Miami with punishments that were measured and sufficient for the actions they displayed.

So what is the source of all of this venom against Miami? To understand it you have to go back in history. Miami was founded only in 1925 as a private institution. 1st Reason they hate Miami is that it was the first school in the South to play black athletes. For the 2nd reason you have to go back to the 80′s when the Miami Hurricanes out of nowhere suddenly knocked down the NCAA front door and barged uninvited and unexpected into the exclusive Top 10 party where normally Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Penn State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, USC and Texas ruled.

Suddenly there was this new dark unknown confident power beating the snot out of everyone and showing lots of unrestrained joy as they did it. Miami became the dominate program in the country. The Hurricanes blended speed, passion and attitude with a passing offense and a dominating attacking defense. College football was caught flat footed and the sports establishment hated them for it. Miami stormed in and won an unprecedented five National Championships in 18 years. in 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2001. Between 1983 and 1991 Miami won exactly half of the national championships! Adding insult to injury, this was a school founded in 1925 of only 15,000 very diverse student body. Previously unknown Miami won these national championships with a much smaller sports budget, smaller fan base, smaller alumni base, very little history and inferior facilities.

Miami, in the media and college football establishment’s mind, was like a darker brasher inner city Tiger Woods suddenly appearing at the country club. Envy turned into downright hatred as Miami’s domination continued. In their mind, only until Miami’s program is destroyed will they be happy in revenge for changing the status quo, crashing and winning their events, becoming the life of the party, and getting their dates attention by beating them at their own game at their country club.

So if you can’t beat em, smear em! And smear them they did and continue to do with a vengeance. Winning and Miami’s reliance on inner city black athletes is the real basis for the bias and hatred towards the program. They also have the nerve to graduate them. Miami consistently has had top 25 graduation rates among its peers. These kids are far from being dummies or thugs.

So let’s stop all the sanctimonious B.S. concerning UM. This brawl is so overblown its ridiculous. These sportscasters have another agenda and it’s not fairness. So you want to compare UM with the nations current #1 team? Aren’t the Buckeyes a model institution according to these commentators? Well let’s review player conduct over a short period of time under their coach who is renowned for his control of the nation’s #1 team and compare it with what you’ve heard about Miami recently;


http://www.centralohio.com/ohiostate/stories/20050526/football/ 2145095.html

Originally published Thursday, May 26, 2005

COLUMBUS (AP) — Players and coaches who have had legal or disciplinary problems during Jim Tressel’s tenure as Ohio State’s head coach (does not include common traffic offenses):

May 21, 2005–Defensive lineman Tim Schafer is charged with disorderly conduct after police twice had to break up early-morning fights between him and another man. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Schafer, who started five games as an offensive lineman last season, and the 5-8, 200-pound other man were both bloody, had bite marks and smelled of alcohol.

May 18, 2005–Redshirt freshman running back Erik Haw was cited after a university police officer said he saw him smoking a marijuana cigarette while standing outside a dormitory. Haw, expected to compete for the starting tailback job, faces a court appearance on Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court. Ohio State officials said he would enter a drug education program and undergo frequent testing.

May 11, 2005–Kicker Jonathan Skeete is charged with marijuana trafficking. Skeete, who was not expected to play for the Buckeyes, was suspended from the team. He was bound over to a grand jury and was later released from jail on $10,000 bond.

Feb. 16, 2005–Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman is reprimanded by Ohio State for trying to arrange for a car and a loan for a recruit and for getting him a tutor. Tressel also received a letter of admonishment because he is Bollman’s supervisor. Ohio State determined that helping the recruit get a tutor for a college entrance exam in 2002 was a secondary NCAA violation. Tressel and his staff were given a reprimand in 2001 for providing a jersey to a prospect.

Dec. 20, 2004–Ohio State suspends starting quarterback Troy Smith from the Alamo Bowl for accepting around $500 from team booster Robert Q. Baker. After a lengthy NCAA investigation, Smith also is forced to make restitution to a charity and sit out the team’s 2005 season opener against Miami (Ohio).

Oct. 22, 2004–The all-nude strip club Pure Platinum files a complaint against Ohio State tailback Lydell Ross for passing fake in-house currency at the suburban club a few hours after the team lost its third game in a row the previous Saturday at Iowa. No charges are filed, but Ross is suspended from the team for the Indiana game and is dropped on the depth chart behind freshman Tony Pittman.

May 1, 2004–Sophomore backups Louis Irizarry and Ira Guilford are arrested and charged with robbery after a student is assaulted and his wallet is stolen at 3 a.m. They are held in Franklin County jail through the weekend. Both plead innocent to the robbery charge, with Guilford released after paying a $25,000 bond. Irizarry is held pending a hearing to determine if he had violated his probation from an earlier assault conviction. He later pleads guilty and is given a three-year prison sentence. Guilford is sentenced to two years probation for his role in the robbery, punching the student before Irizarry took the wallet.

Nov. 16, 2003–At 3 a.m. after a win over Purdue and six days before the Michigan game, wide receiver Santonio Holmes and quarterback Troy Smith are charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after a fight in a parking lot on campus. A window in a car is kicked out and one woman reported her jaw was broken. At least one other prominent Buckeye is at the scene, but is not charged. Holmes is held out of the starting lineup at Michigan but returns to play most of the game. Holmes also started in the Buckeyes’ Fiesta Bowl game. He pleads innocent to the disorderly conduct after the team returns to Columbus. The disorderly conduct charge is dismissed against Holmes on March 30, 2004. Smith is found guilty of the charge.

Oct. 27, 2003–Irizarry is charged with three counts of first-degree misdemeanor assault after three people sustain minor injuries during a fight in a Park Hall dorm room. Irizarry is suspended two days later. He is found guilty of one charge each of assault, negligent assault and disorderly conduct and pays $404 court costs and is put on probation. He is later reinstated to the team and is listed as the second-team tight end on the 2004 spring depth chart before he is suspended indefinitely after the May 1, 2004, arrest.

April 2003–Running back Maurice Clarett reports that a car he has borrowed from a local used-car dealer was broken into and thousands of dollars in cash, CDs, stereo equipment and clothing was stolen. The car was in the parking lot at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and Clarett calls police from a telephone in Tressel’s office. Clarett was later charged with lying to police about the value of the stolen items and is charged with misdemeanor falsification of the police report on the theft. Clarett pleads guilty on Jan. 14, 2004, to the reduced charge of failure to aid a law enforcement officer. He is ordered to pay the maximum fine of $100 and serves no jail time.

Oct. 13, 2002–Linebacker Fred Pagac Jr. is charged with persistent disorderly conduct. Pagac was arrested at 3:45 a.m. after police said he was intoxicated and had a role in a fight involving two women outside a campus-area bar about 12 hours after the Buckeyes’ homecoming victory over San Jose State. The police report said an officer told Pagac to stop but he continued to fight. Pagac was suspended for the team’s next game at Wisconsin. Pagac pleaded innocent. In December, before the team’s national championship game against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, Pagac was acquitted in a jury trial.

Aug. 17, 2002–Defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock is charged with underage drinking in his hometown of Piqua. He is suspended from the team for the three weeks of preseason workouts, then worked out with the team and is not held out of any games.

Aug. 24, 2002–Flanker Chris Vance, the Buckeyes’ second-leading receiver from 2001, is suspended from the team before the season opener for what Tressel called a violation of team policy. Vance was with the team on the sidelines but did not play against Texas Tech.

July 29, 2002–Wide receiver Angelo Chattams is investigated for the alleged theft of a set of golf clubs from a sport utility vehicle in West Carrollton. Prosecutors approve but do not file a theft charge, permitting Chattams to enroll in a program for nonviolent, first-time offenders and avoid a charge.

July 26, 2002–Police find Branden Joe, a sophomore fullback, asleep in a car on a highway ramp near campus. The police report says he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He was suspended for the three weeks of preseason camp and the team’s season opener against Texas Tech, then returns to the team although his playing time is limited by injuries.

April 27, 2002–Linebacker Marco Cooper is arrested hours after the Buckeyes’ annual intrasquad scrimmage and charged with felony drug abuse and carrying a concealed weapon in his sports-utility vehicle. Cooper pleads guilty to two charges in November and is put on probation.

March 2, 2002–Tight end Redgie Arden is arrested on a charge of drunken driving in his hometown of Ironton. The redshirt freshman is found guilty and is sentenced to three days in jail and fined. Suspended indefinitely from the team, he does not participate in summer workouts before the 2002 season but is reinstated before the start of the 2002 season and played in 11 games.

Nov. 15, 2001–Quarterback Steve Bellisari is arrested two days before the Illinois game for drunken driving. Tressel suspends the Buckeyes’ three-year starter indefinitely and then reinstates him to the team three days later. A senior, he practiced with the team for the Michigan game but did not play, then came off the bench to play most of the team’s Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina. He later served a weekend in jail.

March 21, 2001–Cornerback Derek Ross is arrested on charges of driving without a license and providing false information to police, giving an incorrect name when pulled over for speeding. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He is suspended from Ohio State’s 2001 spring practices, then played most of the 2001 season, leading the Big Ten in interceptions and earning second-team all-conference honors. Left team to make himself available for the NFL draft a year early.

Jan. 18, 2001–Tressel is hired.

Get the picture? This site is not up to date and it does not include transgressions after May 2005 but you do get the picture. Is Miami a program out of control?? Not even close!! And believe me OSU is not even close to being among the worst programs for athletic problems in the NCAA but you wouldn’t know it listening to these jock strap sniffing commentators.

The UM program does not deserve what is happening to it now by the media but its worst if we as African Americans fall into their hype. They are proud to be ranked in the top tier of National Universities by U.S. News and World Report. Unlike most sports programs Miami’s graduation rates is routinely in the higher echelon. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Miami if you want to honestly learn about the University of Miami and surf its various external links. What you’ll find is a diverse, well regarded, institution of higher learning. Not a cesspool by any standards

This brawl hysteria is from a lynch mob, pure and simple, searching for the same victim they’ve always feared as usual. Let’s put things in perspective and stop condemning these Miami athletes and their University beyond the facts. They did what they did and they were wrong. Everyone involved to a man has apologized and accepted their punishment. It’s over… nothing else to see here. I for one will not join this lynch mob and I’m getting tired of Miami being the media’s whipping boy. University of Miami’s President Dr. Shalala (who served as President Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, and is nobody’s fool) is correct. Her actions have been measured and the punishments appropriate. After the punishments are served, She’s said that she “will not throw these players under the bus just to save our image” and to please these idiots whose goal is not fairness but for Miami’s destruction. For that I am very proud of her.

Photo’s from http://www.sunsentinel.com/sports/college/hurricanes/