Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marshall, Not Mitchell

Miss TigerBlog plays field hockey on Monday nights, so TigerBlog couldn't stay around for "Pardon the Interruption" last night.

Instead, he could only watch "Around the Horn," which is clearly the junior varsity of the two shows on ESPN's "Happy Hour" at 5 and 5:30 each weekday.

"PTI" is just so much better, simply because of the two hosts, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. Still, "Around the Horn" is still a really good jayvee show, especially because of its main host, Tony Reali, a Fordham grad, by the way.

Yesterday's "Around the Horn" featured a segment at the end, when it was down to the final two voices, in which the question of Marshall Henderson's taunting of the Auburn student section after his two foul shots for Ole Miss won the game Saturday afternoon was raised.

If you haven't seen the clip yet, please click here now and do so. If you have, please move on to the next paragraph.

As an aside, the first TigerBlog saw of the incident was when someone tweeted "Mitchell Henderson" instead of "Marshall Henderson," which made me wonder why Princeton's men's basketball coach had become an internet sensation.

Anyway, as you can see from the clip, it got a bit ugly there for a few seconds. Or did it?

That was Reali's question, anyway.

Was what Henderson did okay? How about what the fans did? Who was in the right?

Meanwhile, the clip itself has been dissected on the internet in every way possible, with the supporting roles of "Auburn Pajama Girl" and "the old guy."

Don't think so? Do a search for "Auburn Pajama Girl" and more than 34,000,000 results come up. Do one for "Alabama Pajama Girl" and 1,800,000 come up.

Had TigerBlog been on "Around the Horn" last night, he would have offered that everyone was in the wrong. He would have added that this is something that used to be described in two words that seem extinct now: poor sportsmanship.

Hey, Henderson, you won the game. You don't need to rush to the other team's students and mock them, even if they had been merciless to you the entire night. And the students? They aren't as accountable because their not representing the University in an official capacity, such as a student-athlete is.

But still. This is where America is right now? Fans at a game who think they can say anything they want? F bombs flying back and forth and it makes for great entertainment, rather than being seen for what it is, which is boorish behavior that used to be discouraged and punished rather than encouraged and rewarded like it is now?

Yup. It's how America is. The more outlandish, the less respectful - and the more likely you are to get your own reality show. It's fame for the sake of fame, regardless of what it took to achieve it. TigerBlog guarantees that the kids in the middle of the Auburn section were treated like royalty when they got back to the dorms.

TigerBlog wrestles with the idea of where the line is and when has it been crossed, in terms of what fans (especially students) can say and do at games. Additionally, what is an institution supposed to do when it feels that the line has been crossed?

The idea is to get students to the games to create a nice advantage for the home team. And TB supposes he's talking mostly basketball here, because of how close the fans are to the players.

He also realizes that someone can yell something completely inappropriate without every using a curse word or any other "derogatory comments," as the NCAA's sportsmanship message reads.

So what do you do? Have a group stationed next to the students monitoring what they say and then have a committee decide if it's okay or not? And TigerBlog's version of appropriate is not the same as yours. And yours isn't the same as the next person's.

At places like Princeton, there is a huge reliance on families with children as a target audience. Does this mean Princeton needs to be more diligent with enforcing the "derogatory comments" action?

And what should that enforcement look like? If you tell students not to do something, they're more likely to do it louder next time. It's just how all 18- to 22-year-olds are.

As TB watched that clip, he couldn't help but think back to the 1999 Penn-Princeton game at the Palestra, when Princeton rallied from 27 points down with 15 minutes to go to win the game. Brian Earl, now an assistant coach for the Tigers, was one of the key reasons why Princeton won that game.

When it ended, Earl clutched the basketball and hugged his teammates. In fact, TB still has a copy of the Philadelphia Daily News that has a great picture of that moment.

What Earl didn't do was run over to the Penn students and shove his jersey in their faces. And TB has a hard time believing that Auburn's fans were on Henderson more than Penn's were on Earl that night and every other night he played in that building.

Before TigerBlog saw the clip from the Ole Miss-Auburn game, he'd never heard of Marshall Henderson. Now everyone knows who he is.

Unfortunately,  in 2013, that's mission accomplished.

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