By Bob Cooney
So the penalty has been handed down to Michigan coach Juwan Howard and Wisconsin coach Greg Gard for their “dustup” on Sunday after Gard’s Wisconsin team crunched Howard’s Wolverines.
Howard was suspended five games and fined $40,000 for his open-handed slap on Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft, while Gard was fined $10,000 for initiating the incident.
I have no problems with the fines and suspensions. They seem to be on par with what happened and the fact that this is the third such incident with Howard over the past year lends to his stiffer punishment.
I also don’t have that much of a problem with what happened after the game. Sports is about emotion. Howard was emotional because his team played poorly and Gard calling a timeout with 15 seconds in what turned into a 14-point win heightened those emotions. When Howard let his feelings known in the post game handshake, Gard felt the need to stop him to explain. Both should have handled the situation better before it escalated into what it did.
That is the learning lesson for the kids on those two teams. And for the coaches. Both admitted they should have handled the situation better. Perhaps both will if a situation should arise again.
Here’s why I didn’t mind it. The constant replays of the situation prove one thing, how foolish two grown men looked in trying to hash out a misunderstanding. Hopefully their players, especially the ones that threw some punches during the scrum, see that and realize there are better ways to handle your emotions during competition. That’s my hope, at least.