Saturday, September 5, 2009
The first weekend of the college football season is a big treat for sports fans everywhere, and an even bigger treat for those of us who have spent our summer watching the San Diego Padres first play themselves hopelessly out of playoff contention by June and then go on just enough of a winning streak to hurt the team's position in next year's draft.
There is another reason, germane to this blog, for a football cheer today: the news from the Oregon football program that the team has suspended for the season running back LeGarrette Blount, who punched an opponent on the field at the end of the team's Thursday loss at Boise State. The Oregon coach explained his action this way in an article today: "You can't hit somebody in society, whether they called you a name or not. In society, no matter what happens you can't do that."
I don't know how much empirical work has been done on whether big-time athletes run afoul of the law more often than others who are somewhat similarly situated. But conventional wisdom is that they do, because they are treated as so special that they come to believe that the normal rules don't apply to them. And so it is heartening to see a big-time coach willing to send a strong contrary message.