If you've ever listened to a college football game on the radio, you know that the game's announcers can be one-sided. I'm not talking about national network broadcasts, I mean the ones that are produced for the areas near the university they serve. (This can happen beyond college football, and if you've ever heard a Houston Astros broadcast, you know this is true.) I've seen this true with schools I like (Penn State) and schools I don't (Notre Dame). It swings both ways.
With that as a backdrop, I'll go into my late Saturday night. Because I've jumped on the bandwagon with those Washington Huskies - I like to think of them as my college-in-law, since I married into the extended UW family - I listened to the Huskies' game at Arizona, a 21-10 Washington win. (The game wasn't broadcast anywhere on television, so that's why I had the radio on.)
I listened on XM, which delivers the broadcast of the home team. But hey, listening to Arizona's broadcast team is better than nothing, right? I listened as the Huskies played a near-flawless first half, then struggled to maintain that lead in a less-than-stellar second half.
All throughout, I was subjected to the musings of former Arizona running back Lamont Lovett, who is the color analyst for Wildcats broadcasts. Besides the homerism, which is to be expected, we had to listen to Lovett's near continual whining about the officials and his overbearing explanation of one "dirty" UW hit. Funny that I never heard anything bad about Arizona's play.
(It's entirely possible that the Wildcats played a completely clean game. I think Mike Stoops is a solid coach, and certainly not a person who I connect with a dirty program in any way. That said, that's a lot to ask of 20-year old kids.)
But I come not to bury Lovett for that. Instead, there was a far greater breach of protocol.
After an incomplete pass from Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback, the officials flew a flag near the intended receiver, a likely spot for a defensive pass interference call. As had become normal by then, Lovett went into his whiny spiel about how bad the call was and, in a rather pouty fashion, said it was a phantom penalty.
The UA faithful was equally incensed and, Jeffries noted, began tossing water bottles onto the field as the officials were huddling to discuss the call. Lovett continued whining.
A minute later, the officials reached a decision, and the referee announced there was no penalty because the ball had been tipped.
Jeffries again mentioned the water bottles strewn about the edges of the playing field. Seeing that his mouth had just enough room for a former running-back-sized foot, Lovett seized the moment. Again paraphrasing:
"Well, they had every right to be mad and I don't blame them," Lovett countered. "That ball was clearly tipped."
Tacit approval of unsportsmanlike acts is no way to go through life, son.
Throwing debris on the field has no place at any level of football or in any other sport. None. I don't care who is signing your check or where you're sending alumni gifts, you had a perfect chance to lower the boom on the folks who tried to ruin a perfectly fine football game.
It's real simple and doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to figure that out. "Yeah Brian, that was a horrid call," you could have said, "but it's really disappointing to see people throwing stuff on the field like that. I've been around here long enough to know that these fans and this community is better than that. The refs got the call right, and that's ultimately what counts."
But no, it was far too easy to take the low road. In politics, they call it pandering to the constituency.
You're in the public eye, and people ought to expect more of you given the platform that you have.
Shame on you, Mr. Lovett, for not delivering.