Sunday, March 2, 2008

Abusive college basketball fans

Sports Illustrated had a good story this week about abusive behavior by college basketball fans. Certainly, this is nothing new, but it has taken an uglier turn this season with episodes at Illinois (directed at Eric Gordon), Oregon (directed at Kevin Love), and Alabama-Birmingham (directed at Memphis, in particular Robert Dozier). Take a look at the associated photo gallery.

A sidebar went down some of the ugly crowd behavior of all time, and somehow this made the list:

Before playing at Wisconsin in February 1998, Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves was arrested for underage possession of alcohol (a misdemeanor for which he completed a first-offenders program.) After the Grateful Red student section serenaded Cleaves with 99 Bottles of Beer, Spartans coach Tom Izzo had to restrain Cleaves. "I had to drag him off the floor because he wanted to fight the whole place," Izzo says. "Then again, maybe he had some of it coming."

Come on! This is nowhere near as malicious as the other things on that list and about 100 other things Duke fans have done. A Google search of the phrase "mateen cleaves 99 bottles of beer" shows that most impartial Internet message board posters agree. Like Izzo said, he had it coming.

Can't say I'm completely innocent on this front. At last year's Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, UW fans highjacked Illini fans' highly annoying "I-L-L, I-N-I!" call and repeat chant, serenading that team's drunk drivers, Rich McBride and Jamar Smith, with chants of "I-L-L, D-U-I!" What do you think, is that crossing the line?

Creativity is good, mean is bad.

-On a related note: State scores 103 points against Indiana one game after getting 42 on us. This was my comment after our win in Bloomington two weeks ago: "IU is talented, but missing something that makes a good team an elite team. Probably defensive stoppers ..."

Now we need help from Ohio State for a shot at winning the Big Ten outright. Unlikely? You bet, but stranger things have happened.


Hammer said...

I was in the student section at the Mateen Cleaves game following his underage drinking arrest. He was suspended for the the first half of the game. He came out in the second half and dominated on the way to yet another Spartan victory over the Badgers. To put that serenade on the same list as the PLO chants directed at Steve Kerr is offensive.

Perhaps the Spartan fans will return the favor if Kevin "Big Gulp" Gullickson plays in East Lansing next season.

Will said...

I cringed a lot more during my UW days whenever I heard during games phrases like "Shoot him like a horse." Which took place countless times. That was probably an example of "hey, we need to fill a sidebar and we're short a couple of entries."