Let’s Not Put All The Blame On The Hurricanes

By L.A.Batchelor
Updated: October 31, 2006

University of MiamiNORTH CAROLINA — When people think of the “U” AKA The University of Miami Hurricanes, they think of the troubled and infamous football team.

When they think of the Hurricanes football team, a lot of phrases and words come to mind: thugs, gangsta, infamous, out of control, lack of discipline, carried away, disorderly , out of hand , rebellious, uncontrollable, ungovernable, unmanageable, unruly, intolerable and wild.

Now those are not my words, but words of friends, colleagues and sports fans alike when ask to describe, discuss or categorized the Miami Hurricane football team.

From Kellen Winslow Jr’s “I’m a soldier” comment to the ugliness displayed by the Canes and Florida International in a game just weeks ago, the program which has had success in winning National Championships, is now shipwrecked in South Beach with swirling winds of controversy, anger and saga.

The latest incident

Dozens of Miami and FIU players stormed the Orange Bowl field and fought during the third quarter of their game on October 14th. The incident led to the suspension of at least 31 players and forced officials from both schools to publicly apologize for the melee.

Miami suspended 13 players for at least one game. Following further consultation between the ACC and the school, the suspension of sophomore safety Anthony Reddick was extended indefinitely. All other suspended players will face additional disciplinary measures, including community service.

The mayhem began shortly after halftime, when Miami’s James Bryant pointed at the FIU bench and bowed to the crowd after catching a touchdown pass. Moments later, on the point-after attempt, FIU’s Chris Smith wrestled Miami holder Matt Perrelli to the ground and punched him.

The benches cleared and the two teams skirmished for five minutes, as several players from both sides were seen throwing punches. Miami’s Brandon Meriweather was seen attempting to stomp on FIU players, while an injured Golden Panther swung a crutch menacingly at several Miami players.

Reddick charged across the field, helmet raised over his head, and slammed it into FIU’s Robert Mitchell. The fight marred what was supposed to be the beginning of a rivalry between two schools with players who grew up playing each other on high school fields in South Florida.

Other incidents unfortunately have occurred going back to the mid 80’s:

Hurricanes players arriving for the 1987 Fiesta Bowl against Penn State dressed in military fatigues.

— The Canes have other fights with Notre Dame, Kansas, San Diego State, Colorado, Virginia, Florida and LSU.

Sports Illustrated, in a June 1995 cover story, recommended the school stop playing football.

— A post-Peach Bowl brawl last season with LSU players occurred after the Tigers handed Miami its most lopsided bowl loss, 40-3.

— UM players stomping on the Louisville logo last month before a 31-7 loss to the Cardinals cause pushing amongst the teams.

Former UM coach Butch Davis was credited with restoring order to the program in the late 1990s, but under current coach Larry Coker the Hurricanes have come under fire once again which is why Coker could lose his job to Davis who will be looked upon to restore law and order at Miami once again.

Now I know people should be held accountable for their actions especially those who are adults and of sound mind and I give no defense, disguise, evasion, expedient, explanation or extenuation for either team’s engagement on the field nor do I feel a need to give my assessment in determining the amercement because those judgments should be reserve for the proper authorities involved and in charge.

What I do believe is those guilty of the incidents past and present are merely the archetypal allotments to a greater complication that exist not only at the University of Miami but at colleges, universities and higher-learning braineries abroad.

Consider the following contingencies at Miami:

The University has had a problem with fights and discipline going back to the 80’s: If they didn’t clean it up then like they should have in a thorough manner, one should only understand the mentality of the players that put on the Hurricane football uniform is one of lawlessness, freedom the ability to break rules and the feeling of invincibility, entitlement and even a sense of royalty.

Annihilating the mentality, holding players truly answerable and making faculty and coaches amenable for what they do or do not do will go along way in curing the botheration of the school and their image.

They also need brawny guidelines for the university and a doctrine that is clear, epigrammatic and adhered to with no exceptions.

The perception of the U is there no matter what the program does

Often times the mainstream media has the inclination to demonize black athletes especially when they are involved in matters of violence, drugs or other inapropos and looked upon as savages and animals while non people of color or whites are given the proverbial pass and their activities are absolved as “boys will be boys” or “everyone is entitled to make a mistake”.

This in my opinion alienates players and their families alike which creates a “us against the world” mentality with the players of Miami versus the rest of the country.

The U shouldn’t play a team so close in geographic domain

Many of the players at Miami have grown up with, are familiar with and even played against players at Florida Atlantic, South Florida and UCF and most of them are competitive, have held or hold grudges against other players and even have malice for players they competed against in Peewee, middle school and high school so putting them on the field in an atmosphere where one school feels superior to the other only flames the fire of anger and potential violence that occurred.

Disciplinary action should be fast and harsh

In society, tougher laws for first time offenders statistically decrease their propensity to become repeat offenders. Propensity is a tendency while a predilection is a partiality – thus, a propensity is a behavioral predisposition whereas a predilection is a personal characteristic so in short, it’s not a sure thing in curbing crime but it is an effective way of lowering the percentage of crime offenders by fear of tough disciplinary action can change an individuals bad behavior.

Why not administer the same abstraction with college athletes who commit such Hannis acts of violents or partake in such brawls as we saw in Miami. You fight, you brawl, you commit such illegal acts whether illegal in the laws of the land or not, you will be punished. Expelled from the team, suspended for the year, etc.

When you hold individuals accountable for their actions in a manner they fear or is a standard that threatens their livelihood, the propensity of actions thereafter is a predictable one of humbleness, apologies and congeniality.

Coaches must be a leader that cares about the players and the university

The Miami Hurricanes need a real coach. One who is resilient, resistant, rigid, robust, rugged, seasoned, sinewy, solid and intimidating. The coach also must have a side of caring and compassion.

He must understand that some of his players come from the streets, bad neighborhoods, a violent and dis-functional past, poor families, broken families and have enormous compressions most of the critics both black and white who love to barrage these kids never experienced or were expose to in their own comfortable lives.

Winning is important to these Universities and Miami is no exception, however winning always has a price and in Miami’s plight, winning is only obtainable if they can educate and chaperon those troubled individuals that need it simply because insanity and chaos is where they sometimes come from and sanity is where they need to be.

You can’t teach and old dog new tricks but I would altercate it is almost impossible to teach a new dog any trick at all.

Look at the violence in sports on and off the field

T’m not a big disciple or acceptor of people get evil or mischievous ideas from what they see on television, read on the Internet or in newsprint or hear on radio, but violence is become normal and accepted by some of the most absurd and contrary sources.

Fathers attacking coaches or assaulting other parents for some creepy, outlandish exposition or for some absurd defense of their child, coaches attacking other coaches with strong accusations of wrong doing or cheating, or the craziest of all is when kids attack other kids or attack coaches because they don’t get as much playing time or profess their actions were taken because the coach prevented them from making their parents proud.

Where is the outrage in these bizarre instances and where is the condemnation and disciplinary action?

Am I excusing the actions of Florida International and more importantly the University of Miami, absolutely not, should they be punished severely and substantially, surely, are they thugs, no did they perform the characteristics of a thug, affirmative but we should examine the alpha of the botheration and understand the fight was not just on the field, but in the communities, the Universities and mentality of our young people.