Thursday, October 16, 2003

OSU: Suspended player

Not a good sport

A fair amount of violence within the rules is expected in the game of football.

This happens, we must emphasize, within the rules.

So what Ohio State University linebacker Robert Reynolds was caught doing on national TV last Saturday was shameful. It warranted at least the one-game suspension he has been given by the team.

Reynolds, the team's second-leading tackler, choked Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi after Sorgi was down during the game on ESPN. Sorgi left the game having difficulty swallowing and talking. It is not known whether he will play this week. Reynolds apologized at a press conference Tuesday, but that does not address what appears pattern of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Reynolds said he suffered a momentary loss of poise and that he is not a violent person. He should study his own game films.

During last year's Fiesta Bowl, he was seen in TV replays twisting the ankle of Miami tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and was penalized twice for late hits.

Aggressive play within the rules is good in football, but no one likes a dirty player. They can jeopardize teams through penalties and - in this case - cause injuries unrelated to what is generally accepted during play.

High profile athletes often are wrongly held up as role models for aspects of life unrelated to sports. But where they absolutely should be role models is in the way they play their games. Reynolds blamed his behavior on the emotionalism of the contest. But emotion can never be an excuse for turning a game into a street mugging.

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