This is a defining moment in the life of former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount whose meltdown after a loss at Boise State ended his college football career. At least the school has kept him on scholarship and will give him a chance to earn a degree but his chance at being drafted by an NFL team are probably done. It’s a harsh punishment for an embarrassing indiscretion especially when there has been no accountability for the player who initiated the confrontation.
There are no excuses to be made for Blount’s behavior either. He embarrassed himself, his team, the school, the Pac-10 conference, and even his family. This was a five tool screw up of the highest order and is a you tube moment for the ages. Nobody in their right mind can find a justification defense for charging teammates and opposing fans despite anything that was said by an opposing player.
That’s where the one sided justice that was handed down against Blount was too harsh. There were two culprits who initiated this dysfunctional escapade in high definition. Boise State’s Bryon Hout was as guilty for instigating the incident as Blount was for blowing his gasket and he hasn’t been held accountable.
Hout could have left well enough alone and joined the rest of the Boise State faithful in celebrating the biggest home win in the program’s history. It should have been a moment where he found a teammate or coach and gave him an embrace they would have remembered for a lifetime. Instead, in sophomoric, frat boy fashion, he had to get that one last dig in at a beaten opponent which led to a moment of infamy.
If Hout keeps his mouth shut – and we still don’t know what was said to Blount – perhaps college football’s first big upset doesn’t become a national disgrace. At the moment the Boise State defensive end tapped the shoulder of his beaten opponent there was a festival atmosphere on the Idaho smurf turf. There was nothing contentious between the two teams and the post game celebration was euphoric.
Hout lit a powder keg of unnecessary emotion at a joyous moment for his team. He was the emotional spark to the social wildfire that sent Blount out of control. It was like a camper not totally extinguishing a campfire that turns into an uncontrollable inferno which destroys acres of land in southern California. On the surface it does not appear to have a racial undertone but to deny the possibility is to not embrace all the probabilities.
People have buttons that when pushed send them over the edge. There are words, phrases, and expressions that hold alternate meanings to people of different races. This is not to say that Hout is racist or made a racial slur but, to not consider it is absurd, although it still doesn’t justify Blount’s behavior.
What got lost in the ultimate resolution of the incident, however, was that two wrongs don’t make anyone right. Oregon lost the game and their best player while Blount lost his composure and the balance of his college football career. Hout was not suspended and disciplined “internally” – again whatever that means – but there was no punitive action against him.
The lines of demarcation in football are clear but the one sided justice against Blount in this case is way out of bounds.