If you’re a big sports nut like myself, you may have noticed that there has been several disiplinary issues with intercollegiate athletes recently. Some get more press than others but all are really concerning.
First, there’s the incident from University of Oregon involved their star running back who lost his cool and went “Artest” after the game was over. There’s been lots of coverage about that so let’s move along.
Yesterday, ESPN reported that an arrest warrant was issued for University of Texas football player Kenny Vaccaro. According to the article, the victim claims that “Vaccaro and his friends were throwing basketballs at him.” The vicitim then threw a basketball back at Vaccaro, hitting him in the head. Vaccaro then responded by punching him in the face. This all took place at a gymnasium on campus.
UT Head Coach Mac Brown stated in a release, “We’re aware of the situation with Kenny Vaccaro,” Brown said. “We’ve talked to Kenny and his family, and pending the completion of the legal process, we’ll do what’s best for the university, Kenny and the team. One thing we have really prided ourselves on in our program is our family atmosphere, and this will be handled within our family.”
It’ll be interesting to see what the outcome is of this incident. Whether it is fair or not, student athletes (especially ones at elite programs like UT) are going to be in the spotlight a lot more than the average student. Students need to understand this and should act in a responsible manner. However, this is also a great learning opportunity for this student as well as his teammates. Based on my experiences of having previously worked at a Pac-10 school, some student athletes believe that they are either above the law or the only authority figure they listen to is their coaches. These athletes should be expected to listen to all authority figures and reprimanded when they do not do so.
Another person who needs to be talked to is the victim. If his story is true, he needs to be held accountable as well for his actions. He could have easily taken the high road and reported the player’s behavior to the proper authorities.