Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'd Like Forde Seconds of My Life Back

Photobucket
Just "Forde" IQ points from making any sense.

That was the time it took to read this passage from Pat Forde's "Forde Minutes" piece on ESPN.com today:

Bad actors: Michigan 'bow-throwers Zack Novak (4) and Manny Harris (5).

Transgression: Wolverines freshman Novak nailed Ohio State guard P.J. Hill with a premeditated, intentional elbow along the free throw lane late in the Buckeyes' 72-54 victory Jan. 28. That earned him an ejection from the game, and then some. The school added a one-game suspension, removing the Chesterton, Ind., product from a semi-homecoming game Saturday at Purdue.

Transgression II: Harris was tossed from Michigan's 18-point loss at Purdue on Saturday when he crumpled Purdue pest Chris Kramer with an overloaded elbow while squaring up into triple-threat position. Wolverines coach John Beilein defended Harris, saying it was not malicious and deserving of an ejection, but that heat-seeking clear-through qualified as excessive force. The Minutes is a Beilein fan, but two ejections in two games is troubling. He's got to get his players to keep their sharp edges away from the faces of Big Ten opponents.

I'll give you Novak, Mr. Forde. But, as pointed out before, Harris should never have been kicked out of the game for swinging through Chris Kramer. Offensive foul, yes. Flagrant foul, no. If Kramer's face doesn't part like the Red Sea this isn't even news. To suggest that these two incidents are related is absurd. Kind of like his next statement:

Role model: Venus de Milo (6). She's never elbowed anybody.

(Florida guard Walter Hodge threw a similar, get-outta-my-grill elbow that dropped Tennessee's Scotty Hopson on Saturday night. That one drew a technical foul but no ejection and less outcry, largely because Hopson was not left in a pool of blood like Kramer -- and because there was no incident involving a Gator throwing a 'bow in their previous game.)

The Venus de Milo joke just hurts. However, we've all come to expect such painful attempts at humor from Forde. The comparison to the Florida/Tennessee incident is an example of the kind of flawed logic that gets Harris booted from the Purdue game. I can't find video of the Hodge elbow, but it seems to be quite similar to what Harris did. Whether or not a play draws blood should not determine the severity of the foul. There is nothing written in the NCAA rulebook saying that a player will automatically receive a flagrant foul if they draw blood. Refs need to be calling these plays based on intent, and not whether a player got opened up on the play. These things happen.

Also, how does Novak's elbow against Ohio State have any bearing on the Harris play? Officials should not allow a team's "reputation" to precede it. I highly doubt this came into consideration when the refs decided to give Manny a flagrant foul, but if it did, shame on them.

Alright, no more complaining about officiating or journalistic incompetence for a while. After signing day tomorrow, I'll be running down the Michigan football recruiting class.

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