A Punch Is A Punch; Or Is It?

The first thing I thought of when I saw this video was LeGarrette Blount. Baylor women’s basketball star Brittney Griner has been suspended two games for punching an opponent, and that brings up many, many questions:

If Blount was initially suspended for the season and reinstated after 10 games, how long should Griner be suspended? Does it matter that she’s a woman rather than a man? That it was basketball rather than football? That it happened during the game rather than after? Will Griner give up basketball to pursue a career as a bouncer?

(We’ll pause here to remind you of this incredible video of Griner dunking in high school.)

I know, I know, the situations are different. Different schools, different sports, different amount of attention, considering one took place live on national TV. The similarities: A sucker punch was thrown and landed. That’s about it.

But the differences are what make it interesting. Is violence more acceptable during the heat of battle? Is it less acceptable in a women’s sport? Fights during basketball games used to be somewhat common. Probably more common than in football, because it takes an idiot to punch somebody wearing a helmet with a facemask.

(As another aside, and I probably shouldn’t say this, but what are the odds that Griner has the same condition as South African runner Caster Semenya? I’m just asking. Watch the dunking video again and get back to me.)

Comparing the punches points out what was unique about Blount’s actions at Boise State: It wasn’t the punch; it was the aftermath. The biggest problem with Blount’s actions were that he acted like a crazy man after sucker punching an opponent. He tried to go into the stands; he attacked a teammate and security personnel; he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the locker room. Griner suffered a momentary loss of judgment, and then collected herself.

Anyway, it was a heck of a punch. And it will be interesting to see how the aftermath plays out.

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