Don't blame storming court for brawl

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
1:05
PM ET
videoIt happened. That which the court-storm police and haters have long threatened finally occurred in Orem, Utah last night (feel free to poke fun at the fact the brawl occurred in a town that dubs itself as Family City USA, by the way).

And so we awake on this otherwise ordinary Friday to a debate raging anew: Should fans be allowed to rush the court in full-out giddiness, or are they risking injury or worse, a brawl like the one we saw between Utah Valley and New Mexico State?

Except the blame here is being entirely misplaced.

The fans didn’t cause this. The Aggies' K.C. Ross-Miller caused this when he decided to hurl a basketball in the direction of Holton Hunsaker.

He lit the fuse and turned a celebration into a powder keg.

He should -- and has been -- punished, suspended immediately by coach Marvin Menzies. And anyone else who threw a punch ought to be punished, too -- suspensions for the basketball players, a Jeff Orr-like eviction for any fans involved.

But the bad actions of a few shouldn't be stretched to punish the majority.

We love nothing more these days than to take one person's misdeeds and paint everyone with a broad brush. Richard Sherman speaks, somehow it becomes Erin Andrews' fault and sets off a weeklong conversation about the emotions of the NFL as well as the role of the sideline reporter.

No, that was just about Richard Sherman.

Same here. This isn't about court storming. This is about one player acting like a sore loser, behaving horribly and turning a celebration into a near riot.

There have been how many court storms this year? Dozens?

And how many brawls? One.

My mother sent me an email recently about all of the things I "survived" as a child that since have been eliminated from the world. Some make sense -- like riding backward in the station wagon "way, way back" without a seat belt -- but others, why? Like dodgeball at recess and seesaws on playgrounds. They’re all but gone now, the first because someone might get hurt, the second because the kid on the bottom might drop the kid on the top.

Well, yeah, those things did happen occasionally and we got a Band-Aid, rubbed our sore rumps and learned a thing or two about the right way to do something and the wrong way.

What a concept.

Same rules apply here.

There was a brawl and it was ugly and unfortunate and the guilty parties have been or hopefully will be dealt with. But it was the exception not the rule.

That should be the end of it.

Storm on.

Rush the floor and threaten to topple my laptop in the process. Jump around at midcourt and take goofy selfies with your friends. Crowd surf.

Have -- gasp! -- fun.

Because the last I checked, sports are supposed to be fun, not tea parties with extended pinkie fingers. Otherwise we'd be serving brie and chardonnay, not nachos and beer.

And college students are supposed to be self-indulgent, silly and occasionally stupid. There's plenty of time to be stuffy, stuck-in-your-seat grownups. So let them embrace the goofiness while they can.

For the record, that goes for Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and UCLA, too. None of this nonsense about rules, about what schools are above it all, and what opponents are worthy of a court storming. Good heavens, this is college basketball, not a NATO meeting.

The only court-storming rules should be to have fun, be safe, and be responsible.

Oh, and one more. If one person acts out of line, punish him or her.

Not the storm.

Dana O'Neil | email

College Basketball

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