- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lack of respect weekend

During the Oregon-Boise State telecast Thursday night, well before the postgame festivities, the announcers noted that Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount carried the colorful nickname “Blount Force Trauma.”

At the time, it was an interesting aside. Now? Well, life can take some funny turns.

No doubt, these are different times from the days of quaint college nicknames like “The Galloping Ghost,” “The Catawba Claw” and “The Italian Stallion.” But “Blount Force Trauma” still seemed a bit much. It still does, although now it seems sadly appropriate.

Anyway, as places that never heard of football now know, ol’ BFT got himself into a spot of trouble. After he had eight carries for minus-5 yards (new nickname: “Where’s My O-Line?”) in Oregon’s 19-8 loss, he attempted to inflict a little Blount force with his fist on Boise State’s Byron Hout.

Make no mistake: Hout, or “Big Mouth Byron,” was a bad sport, a trash-talking doofus. And Blount, shall we say, overreacted, sucker-punching him in the face. Then he went after some doofus fans who were taunting him and had to be restrained by police. For a scary moment, it looked like “pepper spray” might be listed on the postgame injury report.

It was quite a start to what the NCAA is calling “Respect Weekend.”

Oregon suspended Blount for the season. He is finished. But he remains on scholarship and can work out with the team “if he chooses to do so,” coach Chip “I Didn’t Think My First Game Would Be Like This” Kelly said. He added that he will “not throw LeGarrette Blount out on the street.” Kelly said that Blount “needs structure.”

If he needs “structure,” he apparently lacked it at East Mississippi Community College, where Oregon coaches ventured a great distance to give him a scholarship. He must have lacked “structure” last winter, too, because then-coach and current athletic director Mike “Can I Get a Do-over On My Successor?” Bellotti suspended him for “not following team rules.” Now, with his college career over — and his NFL chances perhaps ruined — he will find that elusive “structure”? Good luck with that.

As if an embarrassing loss on national television wasn’t enough, Oregon is stuck with this. Forget trying to compete in the Pac-10; the Ducks have bigger problems. Their season has been permanently tarnished. But it’s the occupational hazard of college sports: Recruit questionable “student-athletes” (can’t we use that phrase more selectively?) and take your chances. Not even Oregon’s sports sugar daddy, Nike chief Phil “Gosh, I Miss MJ” Knight, can buy the Ducks out of this one.


“I tell you what, that will never happen again. I will never lose my head again. … I should have handled that situation a lot better than I did.” — Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount

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