When are athletes going to learn that for every action they take that there will be a reaction from others? The latest incident with Baker Mayfield of the Oklahoma Sooners is a great example. Because the Kansas players would not shake his hand prior to the game this past Saturday he decided it was appropriate to grab his crotch and yell obscenities across the field after scoring a touchdown later in the game.
I am not dismissing the unsportsmanlike behavior of the players from Kansas. However, in sports others may react this way when it has been a trend for the season with one particular player. I know of another player that had these same type of antics that was a number one draft pick in the NFL, but is no longer in the league because of his actions.
It is mind boggling that the media contingent disagrees with the actions of Mayfield, but follow it up with, “I will probably still vote for him in the Heisman Trophy.” The Heisman Trophy is given to the most outstanding performance which best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with INTEGRITY. Winners EPITOMIZE great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. Hey voters, these actions do not stand for what the trophy is supposed to represent. Maybe all voters of the Heisman winner should be required to take a class in what constitutes integrity. Sometimes in life there are hard lessons to learn. It is easy to come out and apologize after the fact. True winners would use the unsportsmanlike act of the Kansas players to motivate them to handle things appropriately between the white lines with an old fashion behind the woodshed whooping.
I commend Coach Riley for coming down with some punishment. However, it is like putting a Band-Aid on a cut. Not allowing him to start the game this week and removing him as the captain is like a slap on the hand. It would be more meaningful for him to have to sit out the entire game and actually learn something from his actions. After all, aren’t coaches supposed to teach life lessons? That is what most of them profess anyway. Only time will tell if this spiral will continue in Norman or beyond.
By Dr. Bret Simmermacher
Dr. Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.