Unsportsmanlike conduct

Tom Crean lost his mind Sunday. Crean may have actually lost his mind long ago, but he went absolutely berserk at Assembly Hall Sunday.

The Indiana Hoosiers enjoyed a nice midday matchup with the abysmal Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Sitting at a disappointing 1-3 in the conference, the Hoosiers desperately needed a win. Although the Scarlet Knights were far from a juggernaut, Indiana cruised to a 19-point victory.

It was nearly a 21-point victory, and that got ol’ Crean’s underoos in a wad.

Indiana freshman Devonte Green snatched a long rebound in the closing seconds and dribbled to the front court. Streaking along the sideline was junior college transfer Freddie McSwain, a kid with a nice bit of athleticism. Green decided to throw a lob to McSwain, who just missed the throw down at the buzzer.

Crean didn’t like it and proceeded to go full Kanye-off-his-Lexapro mode.

The head coach stormed the court and chewed out his freshman guard in front of the entire Assembly Hall crowd and the healthy dose of viewers at home. The tirade was then aired all over sports networks and social media sites throughout the afternoon.

Give me a break.

Who the heck cares if a couple of 18-, 19-year-old kids make a play at the end of a game? Can we please stop throwing around the words “class” and “classless” like we’re pretending to really care about the well-being of big-time athletes?

Would anyone have even paid it any mind had Crean not brought the excess attention to it? This was, after all, a 20-point game between Indiana and Rutgers on the Big Ten Network at noon on a Sunday.

Rutgers was going to lose by 19 or 21. Both of those are embarrassing, and neither of them makes Rutgers look any worse at basketball.

Eleven months ago, Kansas’ Brannen Greene threw down a last-second dunk in an 18-point victory over heated rival Kansas State. His head coach called it “the biggest (expletive) move I’ve ever had a player do during a game.”

Closely following were the classics: “disrespectful to the game,” and “unbelievable poor sportsmanship.”

Disrespectful to the game? What does that even mean?

To me, that means something like all 10 guys on the floor completely disregarding the rules of basketball and running around without dribbling and shooting on the other team’s basket with their pants at their ankles or something. I’m not even really sure.

If it’s a 6-point game and a kid puts down a tomahawk in the closing seconds, the post-game recap might read that the play “put an exclamation point” on the win. Up 18, it’s four exclamation points and a couple of fire emojis.

Maybe it’s the media. Maybe we think it’s our job to uphold the standards of society and let everyone know when an athlete did something to flex those subjective standards.

Maybe it’s the fans. They get so obsessed with their teams and players that they hold those players to unrealistic expectations that they don’t even hold for themselves.

Coaches wear the “father” masks all the time, too.

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski — a self-proclaimed “teacher of young men” — reprimanded Oregon’s Dillon Brooks — an opposing player — when Brooks made a deep 3-pointer late in the game to knock off Duke in the Sweet 16 last year.

Coach K is a schmuck. Brooks just sent your sorry team packing and sent his own team to its first Elite Eight in 10 years, he earned the right to dance a little. Throwing a hissy fit about your team losing is way less sportsmanlike than a kid holding up 3 goggles.

Let guys dunk it. Let guys dance. We put so much pressure on these “young men” to win basketball games for their coaches and heavy-pocketed boosters, God forbid we let them have any fun.

As long as they aren’t damaging anything or hurting (tripping) other players, the extra dunks and celebrations come with the territory.

The simple solution? Don’t get your butt kicked.

By |January 18th, 2017|

About the Author:

Mike moved to Sheridan from Indianapolis, Indiana. Family and his passion for sports brought Mike to the Cowboy State, where he began working as the sports editor for the Sheridan Press in June of 2014.