RENTON – Quite a day at Seahawks High School on Thursday, where fists were used to express feelings and one starter on the team hit another starter on the team with malice aforethought – and (more importantly) without his combatant having the benefit of a helmet.
Yep, Frank Clark’s one-punch knockdown of a teammate was as dumb as it sounds, and it doesn’t reflect well on anyone.
Certainly not Clark, who sucker punched a teammate who was not wearing a helmet. Not on Germain Ifedi, who has been a common denominator in pretty much every significant practice fight since he joined the team. Not on coach Pete Carroll, who’s not one of those coaches who opposes practice fights publicly while privately grinning at his player’s spunk and fight. Carroll legitimately opposes his players fighting in practice, and given what happened on Thursday, you have to worry that at least two starters aren’t heeding that message.
The fight showed the worst in everybody from the participants to the observers, who then spent the next hours trying to rehash and discuss exactly what happened.
“SEAHAWK SCUFFLE” read the front page of The Seattle Times.
“Seahawks Clark punches Ifedi, sparking melee” said the headline on ESPN.com.
It made me think of my
junior year at Aptos High School when Davey Bamford whupped on Jason Storey after a volleyball game. Bamford got a five-day suspension, which he spent at the beach, and we all got to spend the next week rehashing the fight in detail from the motivational antics performed before the brawl to the skinned knuckles Bamford sustained. (Editor’s note: Bamford has informed the author of the story that it was as seniors in high school — not juniors — that the aforementioned fight occurred. Also, Storey totally deserved it having previously given Dave Emmons a black eye.)
What happened Thursday wasn’t any more mature.
What’s too bad was just how foreseeable it was. Clark had been upset by the way Ifedi hit him on a play that had been whistled dead. He shoved Ifedi. The two kept talking. After a subsequent rep, Clark walked around Ifedi, who then shoved Clark.
The trigger for their fight was an incident that didn’t involve either one of them as a 315-pound guy named Rodney Coe threw a 300-pound center named Will Pericak over a water cooler 10 yards after where a drill usually ends. Before the next play started, Clark had punched Ifedi in an act of anger that was as selfish as it was pointless.
The dumbest (stuff) you’ll read this week
It made me smile to learn that Steve Bartman received a World Series ring from the Cubs. I felt unambiguously sorry for the fan who became a target for doing something that almost everyone in his situation would have done: reaching up to catch a foul ball.
Bartman was tormented, first by fellow fans who began throwing things at him, and later by the media that constantly wanted him to tell his side of the story. And always, the guy was consistent in his desire to be left alone, which is what made two columns from Chicago’s biggest paper stand out as so egregiously self-centered.
David Haugh of The Chicago Tribune stated bluntly that the interest in Bartman won’t be sated until he speaks, which sounds an awful lot like a journalist saying he’s going to keep calling and calling and calling until the guy answers the phone, and promising after that conversation to leave him alone.
This is absolutely untrue. If Bartman tells his story once, he’s going to be asked to tell it again. And again. And again. The man has decided he doesn’t want to do that for reasons that any rational person can understand, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that there is a shortage of rational people in the Chicago media.
Eric Zorn’s column was actually worse, though, because it was so disingenuous. First, Zorn identified Bartman not by name, but as “The Fan” as a nod to his desire to privacy. Then he praised his grace and class in maintaining a low profile both in the beginning when he was a target and at the end when he received a World Series ring.
“This reclusiveness had the paradoxical effect of creating an aura of mystery about him that prolonged his time in the tumbrel.”
If you look past the 25-cent vocabulary words, what you find is a journalist saying that the subject’s refusal to cave into journalistic inquisition has made journalists more interested in pursuing him.
To quote my friend Jacson Bevens, Chicago journalists need to get over themselves, using a grappling hook if necessary. The guy doesn’t want to talk even as people have kept talking about him, and now the largest paper in the city has multiple people saying that the only reason they’re still talking about him is because he won’t talk. What a load of fetid hotdog water.