The University of Miami has become a great football powerhouse over the past twenty years or so, winning several national championships. It has also earned a reputation for problem athletes and bad behavior, both on and off the field. Last Saturday Miami lived up to this reputation by engaging in one of the most brutal on-field episodes of fighting that I have seen in my lifetime. Players from Miami and Florida International University, an upstart big-time college program, exchanged blows for several minutes and created a huge battle on the field that made for rare, and disgusting, video footage.
Florida International University announced this week that it would suspend all the players involved in this fight indefinitely. Almost everyone agreed this action was appropriate. Miami decided to suspend all but one of its involved players for only one game. The one game is agianst Duke, a team Miami could beat without half its team. This punishment is so minor that everyone near the sport is stunned.
So, how do you explain the leniency of this action by the University of Miami? Well, the president of the University of Miami is Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administraton official. Dr. Shalala told the media that she would "not throw her players under the bus" by overreacting to their actions. She also noted that she "refused to watch the video evidence" before reaching her conclusion because "she did not want to be biased by the facts." Her logic is truly Clintonian! For eight years our national leadership refused to deal with evidence and failed to exercise anything remotely like moral character and real discipline. The nation suffered greatly. Now the University of Miami, and these student athletes, will suffer as well. Bad bahevior will be allowed to go virtually unpunished and younger children will take note. The sad fact is that the message this gives to these young men will never help them take responsibility for their actions in the future, which only complicates things if they are to ever become productive and healthy adults.
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Clintonian? He hasn’t been in office since these kids were in middle school. What exactly does Clinton have to do with fighting and a lack of responsibility? If we are going to political analogies what about Bush'”I am sure I have made mistakes, but I can’t remember any.” This is a story about responsibility and the privileged place that college sports has in our education system. College athletes are coddled, and given a lot because they produce a lot for the school. That is another area you might want to talk about. I have a relative that is 30 and dealing with addition, I think in large part because of the lifestyle that as given to him while he was star in high school, college and minor league baseball sports. Several times he was bailed out or had things pushed aside because he a star hitter. He was never forced to grow up. It has hurt his current life. This isn’t about bad presidents, this is about bad policy, sports before education, and potentially bad parenting before these kids went to school.
Adam, I agree with your points generally but Donna Shalala did help develop a “no accountability” philosophy of education that seems inherent in the Clintonian legacy. When she says she did not wish to see the facts of this case it reflects part of the legacy of “we are not responsible” that we were given for eight years. Bush has his own credibility issues, for sure, but that was not my point here. I have questionned his war policy in previous posts, for example. In the end, there is no real doubt that you are quite right about sports trumping values.