Controlled Violence

Thursday, Sept. 3 marked the start of the highly anticipated college football season.  The marquee matchup of the evening was the 14th ranked Boise State Broncos going head to head with the 16th ranked Oregon Ducks.

Not only was this game an opportunity for the Ducks to avenge their loss from last year, but for Boise State, it was by far the most important game on their schedule with Oregon being the only formidable foe they’d face this season.

Sports Illustrated quoted the Ducks’ starting running back LeGarrette Blount with saying: “We owe them {The Broncos} an ass whoopin.”  The stage was set! A Prime time slot on ESPN was host to a nation of anxious football fans who for the past few months have been subjected to nothing more than golf and baseball.  After all of the hype, after all of the anticipation, the games’ culmination was one of sheer embarrassment.

Boise State defeated Oregon 19-8.  It was a convincing victory.  The Ducks’ offense failed to achieve a single first down in the games first 37 minutes.  The intimidating blue smurf turf proved to be a grave site for the Ducks.  The game surely quenched the thirst of parched football fans.

After the game had ended, the question that everyone was asking was “did you see that punch?!”  What was supposed to be a post game hand shake turned into a brief stint at Caesar’s Palace.  Bronco’s defensive end Byron Hout taunted the mouthy running back Blount who ignorantly promised the spanking in pre-game with a few words and a tap on the shoulder pads.  Broncos’ head coach Chris Petersen witnessed Hout’s taunt and began to reprimand his player.

Darrin Williams

Not a second later, Blount delivered a straight right hand blow to the jaw of the D-end knocking him to the turf.  Staff on the field did a good job in not letting the incident result in a massive team brawl.  As Blount was being escorted from the field, he attempted to confront jeering fans and had to be restrained by two police officers and his assistant coach.  Since then, he’s issued a public apology and has been suspended for the remainder of the season.  Why is this sort of behavior so commonplace today among athletes; especially football players?  The answer is controlled violence.

That’s what football is, that’s what players are taught. Any and every play can lead to serious injury. Coaches take an aggressive, yet athletic youth from an urban environment and attempt to teach them to channel their aggression.

In most cases, these kids have a superior physical prowess that commands respect and sometimes fear upon entering a room.  To a youngster, that equates to power; then comes the shift psychologically.

Often times, these kids come from homes where they have received very little guidance growing up and there are few positive male role models.  Thus is the reason that coaches play a paternal role in the maturation process.  For these young men, seldom is college viewed as mode for an athlete to receive a financed education; rather it’s simply a median to potentially transition to the pro game.  Time after time in practices they’ve heard their father figures yell: “kill him” or “tear his head off” while participating in a drill.

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