Malcolm White of the LSU Tigers sent letters of apology to the Kentucky Wildcats yesterday, specifically to Anthony Davis and coach John Calipari, for the shoulder-grab takedown last Saturday that resulted in White's ejection from the game on a flagrant 2 foul call. According to the article in the Lexington Herald-Leader:
In the letters, White said he acted out of frustration and not malice in taking down Davis, LSU Coach Trent Johnson said Thursday. The letters also stated that the flagrant foul did not reflect how Johnson runs the LSU program.
The article also clarifies why White did not receive a suspension from the league, as many Kentucky fans, including former UK track athlete Dan Parker, requested on this blog and elsewhere:
Speculation arose after the game that the SEC might suspend White. But league spokesman Craig Pinkerton dismissed that idea.
"The game officials ruled the penalty on the play was a flagrant foul, which included the ejection of the offending player," Pinkerton wrote in an email. "Since the fighting rule was not invoked, there would be no further suspension."
So what are you saying here, guys? Is it the SEC position that no foul, however brutal, will get a player suspended as long as they don't throw a punch or engage in "fighting?" That sounds like a good rule for football, but just as a reminder to you league guys up there planning your next BCS title game celebration, basketball players were baggy shorts and jerseys, not pads and helmets.
To Trent Johnson's credit, he has several quotes in this piece that clearly indicate he was in no way understanding of White's actions, condemns all such dangerous behavior including Whites, and may well suspend White himself. That's fine, I think that these matters should be handled by coaches and teams unless they prove unable to do so, and I think its both fair and reasonable to give Johnson the full benefit of any doubt. From all I've heard, Johnson is a classy coach, and I have always thought highly of the LSU basketball program.
The laissez-faire attitude of the league concerns me, though. Pinerton's comments could reasonably be seen as indifferent to excessive roughness in the sport as long as blows are not thrown, and that's not the signal the SEC should be sending.