Bad behavior

I can never get away with bad behavior; I always get caught. As a kid, I could never get away with kicking my sister. Not only did my parents always find out, but they were never understanding when I'd try to explain how much she deserved it. As an adult, I don't usually kick my little sister under the dining room table, but I get caught for other things, like speeding in school zones and being late to work. I get speeding tickets from the police and warnings from work because I'm never charming enough or imaginative enough to be able to talk myself out of anything.

I've learned one thing from my low-level misbehaving: that negative consequences do exist. Police give speeding tickets not to add your hard-earned money to their petty cash jar, but as incentive not to do it again. If I have $200 to blow, I'd rather spend it on a pair of shoes than making my drive a couple seconds faster. Amazing shoes can get the attention of a lot of people; speeding just tends to turn the heads of motorcycle cops.

We all know people who seem to be untouchable by negative consequences. Like my sister, who I don't remember getting into any trouble at all after sitting on my head during a long car trip. Or like my ex-boyfriend, who drove at terrifying speeds and never seemed to get caught. Or like LeGarrette Blount.

For those of you out there who are not football fans, Blount is a runningback for the University of Oregon. He is also the player who opened the season by punching an opposing player in the face after the game. He then had to be restrained from going after the fans who were taunting him in the stands. Just searching Blount's name online brings up one video result after another of Blount bringing the other giant of a football player to his knees with the strength of his right arm. It was shocking to watch, and I felt embarrassed to be a U of O fan at that moment.

The university immediately announced that Blount would be suspended for the remainder of the season. Of course! He should be! But they also said he'd be allowed to keep his scholarship. I worked hard during school. I worked a part-time job and got help from my parents, and I still managed to accrue a small mountain worth of debt. I have never hit anyone in my life, let alone a televised punch, and Blount never has to think about whether or not to consolidate his loans?

But in the sports world, where people are judged not by their behavior but by their athletic ability, Blount was soon forgiven after meeting some secretive academic and behavioral conditions. After misbehaving so publicly, his road to redemption was kept remarkably quiet. All in all, Blount was reinstated after eight games, back in time for the Civil War Game between U of O and OSU.

I don't deny that Blount was an amazing player in the second half of the game. He scored, he ran, he seemed to control his temper, but in the end I don't think it was worth it. Is winning a big game, particularly at college level, more important than integrity? Maybe I'm just jealous. When I get caught, I get in trouble. When a star athlete gets caught, he receives a hero's welcome back on the field.

I switched my allegiances for last Thursday's big game to the Beavers. I didn't actually attend either of these schools, so switching was surprisingly easy. The hardest part is the reaction that I get from my friends, who are almost universally Ducks fans. Believe me, I know that the OSU players are probably no angels themselves. I realize that in the same position the Beavers coach would probably have made the same decision, but it hurts me to see this glimpse into a world where winning is the most important thing.

Zoë Abel is simply switching to a whole new sport to follow. Contact her about competitive ice fishing, or anything else, at

Share This Story