Athletes need to be held accountable
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 00:10
Ever since we were children, all of us were taught the difference between right and wrong. We learned that when we did something wrong there were consequences and a punishment that fit the crime. However, this was not the case for UConn running back Lyle McCombs last weekend.
For those of you who don’t know, McCombs was arrested at 12:19 a.m. on Friday for second-degree breach of peace. According to police, McCombs yelled, pushed and spat on his girlfriend during a dispute on campus. McCombs was released on $500 bond and must appear in court on Nov. 27. Due to this incident, head coach Paul Pasqualoni benched the Huskies starting tailback for one quarter in the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
There are a few things in this whole situation that don’t sit very well with me. First and foremost, the actions of McCombs. It is never okay to put your hands on a woman, no matter the circumstances. It’s wrong and he should have known that. But what’s done is done and you can’t change the past, only learn from it and move forward. That being said, McCombs should never have been allowed to play the very next day against Rutgers.
Pasqualoni felt that by sitting McCombs for just a quarter he would get the message. Sitting out one quarter is a slap on the wrist, and quite frankly, embarrassing. By playing McCombs, you are only drawing more negative attention to an already bad situation. McCombs is not the first star athlete to commit an indiscretion like the one he committed Friday. Pasqualoni should have suspended McCombs for at least a game to send a message to the team that actions such as arrests will not be tolerated.
McCombs did not have one of his better games that Saturday. He rushed for only 32 yards and averaged just 2.7 yards a carry. Was McCombs distracted by what was happening off the field? Only he would know, but one can’t help but think that when a running back rushes for his season low amid turmoil off the field that football was not the only thing on his mind.
One case of law-breaking star athletes that comes to mind is the Boston University hockey scandal in 2011. Two of their best players, Corey Trivino and Max Nicastro, were charged with sexual assault after being accused of raping an RA on campus. Terriers Head Coach Jack Parker immediately threw both men off the team, even though Trivino was BU’s top scorer at the time.
The accusations against the two BU hockey players were a lot more serious than those against McCombs. However, in the BU hockey scandal, the punishment fit the crime and even though one of the players that were involved was the top scorer, nobody was given a free pass based on their skill. Athletes need to be held to the same standard as everyone else on this campus. When you do something wrong, there are consequences that need to be faced, no matter how fast you can run or how high you can jump.
As for McCombs, I hope he has learned from this and will move forward, both on the football field and off. He has already apologized in a statement, which is always a great first step. I hope Pasqualoni learns that when an athlete does something unspeakable, he should take the necessary actions to hand down the proper punishment. And finally, for the rest of this UConn football team, I hope they can all do their best to focus on the task at hand, which is to win Big East football games as they get ready for Temple this Saturday.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerRMorrissey