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Suspensions in Sports
September 3, 2010 - Al Stephenson
The topic is sports. The secret word is suspension. No duck will come down if you say the word as Groucho used to intone. Then again we are not carrying on a conversation. If you are reading this you want to know my opinion on the additional 8 game suspension of the Washington Nationals Nyjer Morgan and the reduction of a 6 game suspension to four games for the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger. I will be happy to let you know what I think.
Let's start with the Nats volatile outfielder. A couple of weeks ago, Morgan had an issue with fans in Philadelphia. He threw a ball into the stands hitting a fan and major league baseball responded with a 7 game suspension. Morgan has been playing since while he appealed that suspension. What has he done since then, you ask? Oh my!
In a game against the Cardinals, Morgan went out of his way while crossing home plate to elbow the catcher who was standing harmlessly out of the way, or so he thought. Even Morgan's manager couldn't condone that behavior and benched him the next day to avoid what surely would have been a confrontation with the Cardinals.
A couple of days later Morgan barreled over the catcher of the Florida Marlins in a play at the plate that many felt didn't have to happen. Had he slid he probably would have been safe. Add to the fact that the catcher suffered a separated shoulder and is out for the remainder of the season and retaliation was the name of the game the next evening.
The Marlins hit Morgan early in that game and he went to first presumably OK with the purpose of the beanball. He proceeded to steal second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly. His team was down 14-3 at this time, which may explain why the Marlin pitcher did what he did the next time Morgan came to the plate.
This time he threw the ball behind the back of Morgan and that prompted the Nats outfielder to charge the mound where all heck broke loose. The embattled Morgan was ejected and left the field defiantly taunting the Marlins crowd. Baseball responded to his actions by announcing an 8 game suspension which if my addition is correct, makes 15 games if his appeal is denied. What do you think of his chances of winning the appeal are now?
Nijer Morgan is a feisty player. He is also out of control. He is doing himself and baseball no good by his actions. His suspension should possibly be for the remainder of the season. That would allow him to seek the help he desparately needs.
Then there is the case of Big Ben. I have to admit that I am not a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. Nor am I a fan of Roethlisberger. His off-field behavior has been shaky at best and disgusting at worst. But you know what? I agree with the 2-game reduction in his suspension.
Roethlisberger has always seemed to me to be someone who felt a certain entitlement by virtue of his status as a Super Bowl winning NFL quarterback.. He has been an immature prima donna (at least off the field) by most accounts and I applaud NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's suspension to begin with.
The commissioner wants to see the light bulb come on in the head of Ben Roethlisberger - for his sake as well as that of the league. He told him to keep his nose clean and the suspension would be reduced. Ben has been the model citizen since and the reduction is appropriate.
The view from my seat would suggest that it would be great if Roethlisberger has indeed gotten the message and he will continue to be the reformed person he appears to be.
That, after all, is more important than the game of football.
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