An oddity happened this afternoon on sports radio, ESPN Seattle (710 AM) discussed women’s hoops.
Hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk had Tacoma News Tribune columnist John McGrath as a guest and decided to ask his opinion of Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 Baylor freshman who made headlines after she threw a punch in a win against Texas Tech on Wednesday. McGrath, stating he saw this aggression in women’s hockey at the Vancouver Games, said it came from women watching how men behave.
Here’s the video in case you’re one of two people who haven’t seen a replay:
“It’s human nature,” said McGrath of the right round-house
True. And that’s why I agree with the two-game suspension announced Thursday. But I also believe with former ESPN employee Mindi Rice, that Oregon football standout LeGarrette Blount shouldn’t have been suspended for the season (but reinstated later). And punishments for punching should be equal.
But they probably won’t. And as former NBA star Jalen Rose said on ESPN’s “First Take,” it’s a double standard that’s not fair. Although Griner’s punch, which broke the nose of Jordan Barncastle, did make national headlines, people still tend to think women’s sports are soft and give cupcake penalties for misbehavior.
Passion, however, is good for the game and some people need to learn how to hone that fire for good, not bad. Penalties are one way of doing. No reason why women should be penalized less, either.
“Losing your cool” is one of the issues Washington coach Tia Jackson had to grapple, regarding her players. She stresses it’s not a bad thing, but wants to stop the harmful parts like technical fouls and possible escalation to fighting.
The main offender was senior post Laura McLellan.
“Laura’s grown, we’ve had talks about it,” UW senior guard Sara Mosiman said. “Some people might see it as she’s frustrated, but it’s really because she cares so much. She cares about basketball maybe a little bit more than she puts on.”
But McLellan said she’s never reached the level of wanting to deck a player.
“It was crazy how the whole thing went down, she really just punched that girl in the face,” said McLellan of Griner. “My (high school) teammate threw a punch and I had to stop the fight. So I’ve been involved in a fight, but not as one of the punchers.”
Griner will most like suffer for her actions long after this season. But she’s not the first high-profile player to retaliate or throw a punch. WNBA players Candace Parker and Plenette Pierson had a notorious rumble at the Palace of Auburn Hills, for one.
As McGrath said, it’s human nature when prodded – as it appeared Griner was throughout the game. Yet, as plenty have stated, you have to keep your cool. And the penalty for not doing so should be the same regardless of sport, gender, or punch.
“Being an emotional player myself, I don’t think I’d take it to that extent of punching someone,” McLellan said. “But I don’t think it has anything to do with being a man or woman. It’s a passion for the game and sometimes things get out of hand. It was heat of the moment and I’m sure she regrets it.”