by Richard Okelberry, November 22, 2010
“I know Nebraska fans are also angry about the flag Ben Cotton received, but you’re naive if you think that worse doesn’t happen under piles every Saturday. I don’t blame Cotton for retaliating, but let’s not act like he’s the first and only player to ever have an opponent’s hand in an uncomfortable place. The cameras just caught this one.” – David Ubben, ESPN.
It’s bad enough to watch a player get caught on national TV trying to purposely end the season and possibly the career of an opposing player, but it is far worse to see a member of the ESPN media adopt a “boys will be boys” attitude. It is obvious that Jerod-Eddie was specifically trying to injure Cotton’s sciatic nerve in the video. As a disabled veteran that has suffered damage to this nerve, I can say with all certainty that if Jerod-Eddie had been successful, Cotton could have very well spent the rest of his life tormented by the injury.
Also it is apparent that the ESPN writer David Ubben knows very little about Nebraska football and its fans. In general Nebraska fans covet above all else fair play from not just the players of our opponents but from our players most of all. Contrary to Ubben’s assessment, most Nebraska fans did not object to the suspension of Eric Martin for his high hit during the Oklahoma. What we object to is the fact that Martin was called out for the hit post game and made an example of. Since that event, hits like the one thrown by Martin have been a weekly occurrence with Martin being the ONLY player in the entire NCAA to suffer such a suspension.
You see again, what Ubben fails to understand is that Nebraska fans are all for making the game safer. He also is missing the fact that Nebraska fans understand that the game is not being made safer when you call out one player with a suspension then fail to equally apply the same standard to all players. Rather than making the game safer, the integrity of the game is being eroded by selective and even non-enforcement.
Of course the true story coming out of the Nebraska vs. A&M contest will have little to do with sideline antics, tempers and poor officiating. Most Nebraskans welcome having Osborn talking to Pelini about how to curb his temper and most Nebraskans understand that occasionally bad calls will stack up against you. But the true story that the entire country (including ESPN) should be focusing on is how the NCAA, the Big 12 and Texas A&M will deal with the attempt by Jerod-Eddie to end the career of Ben Cotton. While David Ubben of ESPN writes that this kind of thing happens in football, that statement in no way excuses it. Just because something happens doesn’t mean that it is right and the best way to ensure that it continues to happen is for university officials, coaches, fans and sports writers to give it a pass and adopt a “boys will be boys” attitude.
Collectively we should all be working to improve the sport we love, not allowing it to be degraded by those with self serving agendas. Learn that lesson Mr. Ubben and you will come one step closer to understanding why Nebraska fans are generally considered the greatest fans in the nation.
UPDATE: Ubben gets trumped by an actual ESPN Correspondent!
“Jerod-Eddie should be suspended for this week’s game against Texas. Preferably the suspension would be delivered by A&M, but if the school doesn’t have the, um, stones to do it, let Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe step in.” – Pat Forde, ESPN