Forget cheap shots, players should just throw down
Posted: Monday January 9, 2006 10:29AM; Updated: Monday January 9, 2006 3:43PM
When Rodney Dangerfield said he went to a fight and a hockey game broke out, everyone got a good chuckle. We also laughed (and rightly so) at the violence in Slap Shot. (If you can watch the Hansons' first shift on the ice and keep a straight face, you, my friend, have no sense of humor.) Yes, we belittle hockey players for having the temerity to drop their gloves and wail on each other. But after watching a few basketball and football games over the weekend, I say we should laud our hockey goons for at least having the decency to, well, drop their gloves and wail on each other -- as opposed to slapping, spitting, shoving or declaring "Handbags at 20 paces!" when tensions boil over.
On Saturday, Washington's Sean Taylor got tossed from the Skins-Bucs game for hocking a loogey on Michael Pittman, who responded by slapping him, much in the same way that Judy Garland smacked Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz. (Except neither Garland nor Lahr was wearing a helmet and head-to-toe padding. Well, Lahr did have his Cowardly Lion costume padding.) On Sunday, Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu got so riled up at a Bengals lineman that he shoved the football in his facemask, teaching him a lesson -- presumably, that leather doesn't penetrate steel. (All of this suggests that leg-stomper Marcus Vick might be ready for the NFL after all.) And who can forget New Jersey's Vince Carter and Toronto's Morris Peterson exchanging slaps in Sunday's game. At this rate, by March we will have seen our first in-game purple nurple, noogie and Indian burn. And a kick in the groin can't be too far behind. I realize emotions run high in sports. But guys, if you're going to come to blows, please remember this: Hand to hand combat is fine. But when it's open hand-to-open hand, well, that just ain't cool.