Monday, January 26, 2009

More on the Kampfer Incident

Photo by Zachary Meisner of The Michigan Daily

I thought after a couple days my rage about this whole thing would simmer down to a mere seething anger. Not quite. I just got off the phone with my mom (I know, cute, right?) and had to explain the entire thing blow-by-blow to her because she hadn't read the sports section in a few days. Just describing what the Conboy/Tropp tag team did to Kampfer made my blood boil.

Even worse was subsequently reading this account of the game from The State News (found via The Diag). Let's start with the title: "MSU, U-M behavior bad all-around". Regardless of how you view public profanity and the actions of Kampfer's father, putting them on the same level as what Conboy and (especially) Tropp did is homerism at its worst.

Now it's time to go at this article Fire Joe Morgan-style. Alex DiFilippo (The State News reporter) will be represented in italics. My commentary will follow.

With the game all but over, U-M’s Steve Kampfer took a run at MSU sophomore forward Corey Tropp at center ice.

The game was 5-3 with 55 seconds remaining. Granted, at the time it looked pretty bleak for the Spartans. However, much crazier things have happened in the game of hockey than scoring two goals in under a minute, especially if you get the chance to pull your goalie (which was almost certainly State's intention when they dumped the puck in to U-M's zone right as Conboy punched Kampfer).

Also, Kampfer's hit was totally clean and legal. This is not "taking a run". This is hitting a guy with his head down and making a solid hockey play.

In an attempt to stick up for his teammate, MSU freshman Andrew Conboy went after Kampfer to try and teach him a lesson.

The lesson being "screw eye-for-an-eye, and every code among hockey players, a hard hit deserves a retaliatory assault".

Conboy punched and threw Kampfer to the ice and Tropp came in and struck Kampfer across the head with his stick.

A moment after Tropp committed the violent act, you could see him look down at Kampfer and come to the realization of what had just occurred.

DiFilippo clearly forgot to add "sucker-" to the front of "punched", which should've immediately been followed with "from behind". Somewhere in his description of what Tropp did he should've noted the fact that Kampfer was down, and probably unconscious, when Tropp decided to COCK HIS STICK AND SLASH HIM IN THE NECK.

Also, if Tropp's reaction to his "realization" of what he did was to immediately get in a shoving match with:

1) Conboy, his own teammate.
2) David Wohlberg, who was the first Michigan player to skate over

then the man has no soul. How DiFilippo can watch that tape and think Tropp became immediately remorseful is absolutely beyond my realm of understanding.

While Kampfer was being helped off the ice, the student section began a cheer that was so loud the ground was trembling in the press box.

I’ll give you a little hint on what it was — the first word rhymed with “duck” and the second word was “State.”

Actually, the second word was "you" but that's kind of nitpicking. I will say this: I would much rather have had the student section chant "Steven Kampfer", or simply rain down a chorus of boos on the Spartans. Chanting "F*ck You State" certainly didn't help matters, nor did it show any class. However, for a sportswriter from a school that chants "First Down, Bitches" (and much worse, if you happen to be a Michigan student in Spartan Stadium ... I speak from experience) during football games, this seems like a strange time to rant against profanity in the student section.

When the final horn sounded and it came time for the ritual handshake, tempers were still flaring and players were pushing and shoving each other through the line.

Members of the Wolverines team even came over and had a few choice words for Comley.

If those words were anything along the lines of "get control of your goons and teach your team to play like men," then the Michigan players were totally in line. Regardless, they just watched their teammate, who had recently come back from a fractured skull and neck injuries, lay on the ice for several minutes with Spartan-induced injuries to the same area. DiFilippo should be pointing out how classy it was for Red Berenson and the Wolverines to even shake the Spartans hands in the first place, especially when the officials suggested they should forego the post-game handshake.

When the Spartans returned to their locker room, a parent of a U-M player barged in and attempted to fight Tropp.

This type of thing is absolutely unacceptable.

The CCHA has to come down with some sort of fine or punishment on U-M for not having proper security outside of the opposing team’s locker room.

What if this man would have entered the locker room with a weapon?

Granted, all of this stemmed back to Tropp’s cheap shot, but U-M fans are crazy if they thought the league or Comley was going to overlook something as serious as this.

I am not defending the actions of Kampfer's father, but if you're going to talk about how slugging a guy in the back of the head is "sticking up for your teammate," Mr. Kampfer was doing the least he could do to stick up for his son. If he was going to stoop to State's level he would've brought along a hockey stick and waited for Tropp to turn around. Tropp has already decided not to press charges, and I'm pretty damn sure the league will not be punishing Michigan for anything that transpired Saturday night. Yes, they'll make sure there is more security, but my bet is this is a league-wide issue, and not just a problem at Yost. Officials and police probably weren't planning on an on-ice assault when planning security for the game. Next time we'll make sure to remember how bush-league the Spartans are, and throw a little more security in the locker room.

Instead of being the victims in this incident, U-M fans became part of the problem and committed some big-time sins of their own.

You, Mr. DiFilippo, are forgetting who exactly the victim is in this incident. Steve Kampfer was a victim. The Kampfer family, who had to watch their son lie motionless on the ice after getting attacked by two goons, was a victim. The Michigan State hockey program, which lost a ton of national respect because of this, was a victim. Michigan fans were only a victim in that we had to watch Kampfer get attacked, and then pray overnight that he was going to be okay. I prayed for Kampfer, and I prayed for his family. I did not have to pray for Tropp, who was completely unharmed in the incident, despite being attacked by a justifiably furious parent. I did not have to pray for the people watching the game who hear the profanity. I'm sure they'll be fine.

This is homer journalism at its ugliest. Get a grip, DiFilippo. I realize you're a State fan catering to State fans, but I would hope that any Michigan blogger or writer would have the sense to present what happened in a far less biased way.

Update: Michigan Hockey Net did pretty much the exact same thing I did. Pardon my redundancy, but I had to get this one off my chest. That article deserved a double-dose of reality anyway.


Bob Biscigliano said...

Great stuff outta you Ace. Brutal what those Spartans players did. Damn shame. If I was Kampfer's father, I would have definitely done the same thing. I was wondering if you could help me answer a question though: Why did that former Michigan football player fight Kampfer in an off-campus incident? Do you know the details of that fight?

Ace said...

I remember the Ann Arbor News saying something about Kampfer getting into a confrontation with a girl (I'm assuming at a party), and then Milano stepping in and confronting Kampfer. This was before Milano saw Kampfer on the street and body-slammed him to the sidewalk. However, I have no idea who the source was for this and whether or not is is close to the truth.

Michigan chick said...

The incident last fall occurred when Mike Milano was hassling Kampfer's former girlfriend (also a Michigan athlete) at a party. The girl called Kampfer, who had already left the party, for help, and he went back to the party to walk her home. After Kampfer had left the girl's house, Milano ambushed Kampfer from behind and slammed him head first on the sidewalk.

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