Down South, players don't get suspended for rape charges or savage beatings, and Urban Meyer wouldn't discipline a player for ten minutes if he could find a way to keep it out of the media.
Oregon wants to be different, win the right way and send the right message. After a season where maybe the team got too loose and a little self-involved, showed some chinks in both preparation and discipline, Mark Helfrich sent a message with his handling of the snowball fight/stopping traffic/intimidating-a-former-professor incident that involved some Oregon football players (kval.com photo).
Helfrich stepped right in. He reviewed the tape and got the facts. He acted quickly and made a decisive, clear statement:
"On Saturday, I was made aware of an incident that occurred Friday afternoon during the snow day involving multiple Oregon students including members of the football team," Helfrich's statement said. "The behavior exhibited in the video is completely unacceptable and dangerous. We take this matter very seriously and disciplinary actions have begun."
Today the team announced that tight end Pharaoh Brown would be suspended for the Alamo Bowl, and other players that were involved would also be disciplined.
It was the right thing to do. The incident made Good Morning America and espn.com. It threatened to become a part of a pattern that has given the Ducks, rightly or wrongly, a reputation as a spoiled, entitled, undisciplined team, soft against physical opponents, exposed in big games. It's not particularly rational but it all gets woven together in the narrative.
Brown is a good football player and not a bad kid. This was a snowball fight that got out of hand, and the kids got caught up in rowdy behavior the way young people will. The behavior wasn't acceptable, but no one was hurt, and the adults who were targeted don't intend to press charges. Even so, Helfrich stepping in and saying, "this isn't how we act and not how we want to represent our University" is exactly right.
It's ironic that Brown gets more punishment for dumping a box of snow over someone than an LSU tailback gets for beating a man severely enough to send him to the hospital, but Oregon fans have to like that the coaches and players are committed to handling this responsibly and being accountable. Lesson learned, and accepted. Pharaoh is a good player and he will be welcomed back next year. On the field in the Alamodome, Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt will fill in capably.
As of right now, the video has 3,356,752 views on Youtube. You might say it's viral and becoming a big deal.
Have to disagree with you on this one Dale. Most monumental over reaction I can recall. If we're going to make snowball fighting activities punishable, I sure hope there's a statute of limitations or else I'll become a fugitive. Completely overblown.
This is what happened:
I'm sorry. Wake me up when someone loses an eye. Or when someone, even the waterboy, on an SEC or B1G team pays the price for frigging assault, rape, or worse.
Yes Football players need to be responsible. But there needs to be consistency. It is fundamentally flawed to suspend one player for throwing snowballs and let another be involved in a criminal case with a questionable outcome play in the National Championship Game and be the leading Heisman candidate. Why are teams like FSU not held accountable for more serious infractions committed by high profile star players? Give me a break and let the punishment fit the crime.
Helf had to do something even if this was a minor situation. I wish you all would stop referring to the 68 year old as elderly as this is hitting close to home. Hey, I can throw a snowball in return. We will be thin at tight end if we are running tight end sets requiring both of them and one gets nicked
Football players need to understand that they aren't just students. They're national representatives of the University of Oregon and their actions will be viewed under a microscope by others. I hope MH strongly tightens up discipline. You can't have focus without discipline and you can't have victories without focus.
Helf did the right thing, even though the Former professor said himself the the Snowbrawl fight was probably something he and his buddies would have done when he was in college. It's unfortunate because Pharaoh has been coming into his own a little bit this season and doesn't have a history of being a trouble maker. Kids being kids? Yeah. Right decision? Of Course. Pharaoh will learn from this, and it'll make him a better person, better teammate and a better player down the line. I hope those folks at the Mothership don't spin this like they've spun everything else against the Ducks this season.
@sbinformer In these situations I'd like to think of the "students" as students. Whatever all of the participants get for punishment should be the punishment for meted (sp?) out for Pharoah Brown. I don't think being on a football scholarship deserves any more punishment than any other student or student on an academic scholarship. If charges had been filed, if someone was injured, then yes. Make the kid run til he pukes. Used to work in my day and I bet it still does. But, don't take away something he worked for an entire season for while letting others get no punishment at all. jmho.
@sbinformer I respect your opinion, but it became more than a snowball fight when they harassed other people, drivers, obstructed traffic and ganged up on 68-year-old man. It became more when they became bullies and landed on Good Morning America and ESPN, with a 6-6 football player in an Oregon letterman's jacket being the featured aggressor.
@Dale Newton So what? It's snow... There was no blood. No semen. No cops trying to cover it up. If this had happened at Boise State after the year they've had, nobody on planet earth would have heard about it. If this had happened at Alabama, nobody on planet earth would have heard about it because it doesn't snow in hell.
@zduckfan I understand that sentiment, but it became more than snowball fight when the students and football players stopped cars and impeded their progress, poured snow over their windshields so they couldn't see, dumped a box of snow on a 68-year-old man, and swore at him when he questioned what they were doing. Technically it became Criminal Mischief or Menacing, although no charges are likely. It was serious and dangerous at that point, as Helfrich described it, and a bad reflection on the team and the university. How they handle it elsewhere is not the standard, but I do recognize what you are saying.
@GeorgeNashKhier GNK, agree that there should be a higher standard elsewhere, and the Winston, Manziel, and Jeremy Hill cases are example of the anything-for-wins mentality of southern football justice. Helfrich is trying to set a standard for his team and his players, and I think his approach, while harsh, will be better for the future of this program.
@SonomaDuck Relative to the students, and a 6-6 football player, this man was elderly. Good point about the depth issue. The tight end position is cursed this year.
@duckified df, the incident was played up on the web and made ESPN and Good Morning America. It couldn't be ignored, even though yes, it probably got blown out of proportion.
@Brian Mahuna Brown had a 12-yard td catch in the Stanford game, and catches for 28 yards against Utah and 24 against Colorado. He emerged as the started after Colt Lyerla left the team. Coach Tom Osborne called reserve tight end Evan Baylis the most improved player on the team this year, a very hard worker in practice.
@Brian Mahuna By Mothership I assume you mean ESPN, or maybe O-live? Cue JC….
@Dale Newton @zduckfan It was never really serious or dangerous. Sorry. Kids driving 110 on the freeway are dangerous. Stealing laptops out of dorm rooms is serious. Hitting a man so hard that he goes to the hospital, on film, is outrageous.
What is outrageous in this instance is a bowl ban. The behavior was innocent enough, and surely nothing we'd want our kids to do with their free time, but in no way shape matter or form does this constitute a bowl ban. The Helf has lost respect in my eyes, not gained it. I'd guess that goes for some players as well. And I do not say that because Oregon might perform worse in the bowl game. Au contraire, I think the kids from Texas might be laughing too hard to put up a good fight. "They banned him for what?!?!?!"
@Dale Newton @Brian Mahuna I saw Baylis's name pop up more than a few times on the daily practice reports. I know Mundt and Baylis can do just fine for the Ducks at TE, but Brown was becoming a weapon later in the season but I think we'll be just fine. Especially with Brian Teague playing both O line and TE on the scout team.. If they need him, he'll produce. Not to mention Koa Ka'ai who scored TD as a TE last season!