Now that we’ve had the second incident in two weeks of a Florida State player being kicked off the team for punching a woman, I can’t help wondering what goes into the recruiting effort when these players were high school seniors.
What I mean is: From what we’re seeing in the videos of these muscular young men, how is it that their reaction to a disappointment is — to punch somebody? You get upset — somebody’s getting slugged — doesn’t matter if it’s a woman — she gets it, too.
In the one video, freshman quarterback Deandre Johnson is grappling at a bar with a young woman. It’s said that he bumped into her trying to get in position at the bar. They’re wrestling with their arms, then she gets a hand free and slaps him. He responds with a wallop from his right hand.
This is manhood? This is “tough”? A big, strong, Division I football player can’t take a slap from someone so much smaller? He has to respond with a solid right — to a woman?
His “defense” is: She called him “racial epithets.”
His high school coach in Jacksonville, Florida maintains: “This isn’t him at all.” In high school the player was a model student — had no discipline problems at all.
And then after a further year of maturing in college, he gets upset at a woman — and slugs her.
It seems to me that an important element of character is — “self-restraint.” Don’t the coaches when they recruit look into the temperament of a player? “Does he fly off the handle easily?”
Self-restraint would include resisting the urge as a “Big Man on Campus” to strut into a bar. The ready-to-ignite atmosphere in a bar seems especially charged for a football player.
In fact, the SECOND incident likewise occurred at a bar. The team’s leading running back last year as a freshmen, Dalvin Cook, who is from Miami Central High, intervened in an argument between a friend and an unknown woman, and he began swinging. Several times he hit her, including at least one solid punch to the face.
This was a national sports star — the leading running back on one of the leading football teams in the nation. He had no better understanding of his responsibility to the university (for one thing) to go into a bar? For another thing, to get into a fight at the bar? For a further thing, to get into a fight at the bar with a woman?
Head coach Jimbo Fisher may have done as thorough a job as possible of screening these players when they were high school seniors. Who knows. Still, their bad decisions once they get onto the campus are theirs to own, and to suffer from. They were kicked off the team immediately.
They will now go looking for new schools. At least one question the recruiters won’t have to bother asking is: “Do you think they would ever hit a woman?”