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Friday, September 04, 2009

Was Oregon's LeGarrette Blount called the N-word by Boise State's Byron Hout?

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Oregon's star running back LeGarrette Blount lost it after the loss to Boise State 19 to 8 last night. His quick right hook to the face of Boise Defensive End Byron Hout after the end of the game cost him the season: Oregon announced that LeGarrette Blount's suspended for the rest of the season.

While the suspension is certainly appropriate for what is essentially assault, I have three questions: First, what did Byron Hout say to cause Blount to react so quickly and violently? Second, what did the Boise State fans say that lit the match and ignited the already hot passions of Blount? Third, why wasn't Byron Hout suspended by Boise State, even if for one game?

First a quick recap of the action. After the end of a hard fought battle that 14th ranked Boise State won with a withering offensive attack chipping away at the 16th ranked Oregon Duck's defense, LeGarrette Blount was walking along absorbing what for his team was a shocking loss when along came Byron Hout to hit his pad hard enough to cause him to run around, then said something to him, pointing at him. Blount rapidly fired a right hook to the jaw of Hout just as Hout turned his face away from Blount.

The impact caused Hout's legs to just give away and he fell to the turf.

Cooler heads on the Oregon staff dived in to intervene faster than you could yell "police!" and Blount and Hout never got near each other again. But Blount's anger management system failed and he was ready to fight anyone: his own players, hitting Garrett Embry after he gave Hout the shot seen round the World.

Then, headed to the locker room but drawing closer to the stands to get there, a Boise State fan (probably drunk) yelled something and Blount, already in orbit, hit the thrusters and tried to go after that fan, then another fan grabbed a chair and said something and Blount tried to go after him. It took four to five guys to restrain him. By that time, it was clear Blount went too far and his college career was over.

What did Hout say to Blount?

What goes through my mind and others is the question "What did Hout say to Blount?" Blount himself won't tell, choosing to issue an apology after the game. Boise State Head Coach Chris Peterson doesn't know what Hout said, and Hout's not talking. But one thing's clear: Hout and Blount know what was said.

Was it the N word?

The mind runs with possible reasons Blount went off like he did but the only two logical ones I can see is that something racist was said or something awful but not racist was said. Whatever the case, this is on the mind of the blogsphere; many people are thinking it was race based or at the very least a trash talk comment like "Ass Whuppin!" which is what Blount openly promised for Boise State.

What did the Boise State Fans say?

Now the possibility that what the Boise State fans said to LeGarrette Blount was racist is much higher than that for Hout. First, there was drinking involved and even though Boise Police reported that there were no fights or incidents, they somehow left out this matter. Again, even commenters at Boise State websites agree that the fans were out of control. However no one seems to know what was said.

Why wasn't Byron Hout suspended by Boise State

That Byron Hout wasn't suspended is what really gets me. Boise State's Peterson said:

“We’re not good with it,” Petersen said. “It always takes two to tangle. Those are things we preach about every day around here. We just need to keep our mouths closed … and let our play speak for itself.

“I’m sure (Blount) would give his right arm to take that whole thing back, how it looks. Byron’s mistake wasn’t as extreme as LeGarrette’s, but he was still wrong.”

But even with that, Coach Petersen's choosing to handle the matter "internally" and whatever that means it signals that we, you and I, will not know if anything's done to punish Hout. That's shameful. It sends the very public signal that Hout's words were ok. Perez Hilton's act comes to college football.

A message must be sent that trash talking is not allowed in sports. It's gone too, too far. Really, racist or not, it's wrong and while I' not condoning what LeGarrette Blount did, it's not right to have the punishment so one-sided in the public eye.


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