It has been a tough time recently for the University of Oregon football program, with key players making decisions that have not exactly helped them overcome the stereotype of the "dumb jock." Last Friday saw, for starters, star running back LaMichael James pleading guilty to "misdemeanor harassment" of his girlfriend. (I'm not sure what exactly constitutes misdemeanor harassment, but I'm pretty sure it's not what you'd call "classy.") Then we also got to see star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli plead guilty to second-degree burglary for having looted some computer equipment from a frat house. Because when you are a big football star with possible NFL potential, I guess swiping somebody else's laptop just seems like a good way to further your prospects. Whatever.
The 'Gonian reported Friday that James will be suspended for the first game of the 2010 season. Masoli will be suspended for the entire 2010 season and, presumably, will have to give the stuff back and say he is very sorry. So that's the official decision. The story was printed, though, under the interesting headline "Oregon fans may levy toughest judgment in aftermath of Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James."
Well, I don't know about other fans, but I have wasted no time levying my judgment in the case. On Sunday evening, I submitted it in writing to the U of O Athletic Department.
To the Athletic Department,
As I'm sure you're aware, the Oregonian suggested Friday that in the aftermath of Jeremiah Masoli's & LaMichael James' suspensions, "the harshest judgment could come from fans and a university community exasperated by a head-spinning series of transgressions...." Indeed. Today, I am formally announcing my official judgement as a fan and community member: I am penalizing the University of Oregon football program with a Four-Game Suspension of my fan support.
The details are as follows:
->The Suspension will cover the first four games of the 2010 Season, including three pre-season games (vs. New Mexico, Tennessee, and Portland State) and the September 25 Pac-10 opener against Arizona State.
->While the program is under suspension, I will not attend, watch a telecast of, listen to a radio broadcast of, or read media accounts of their four games. I will, furthermore, not care whether the Ducks win or lose.
->I will not wear any of my University of Oregon licenced sportswear, nor my green and yellow tie-dye t-shirt, from August 1 until October 1, the end of the suspension period.
->During the suspension period, I will abstain from discussing Ducks football with friends, acquaintances, and coworkers, explaining if pressed that this is a condition of the suspension of fandom.
->My support for the Ducks for the remainder of the 2010 season will be probationary and conditional on there being no further egregious instances of players making complete asses out of themselves.
This suspension is final and is not subject to appeal. I look forward to resuming my enthusiasm for Oregon Ducks Football this October.
As of this posting, University officials have not yet responded to news of the sanctions. I will keep you informed as events develop.
Update: The Athletic Department Responds!
This just in from Eugene:
Michael,Thank you for your feedback. We have passed your email on to the appropriate sources for further review.
Thank you for your support and GO DUCKS!