Once again, the University of Oregon showed its tail feathers to the world and got spanked. No, it wasn't the fact they lost to UCLA last week in Eugene. It wasn't the Oregon mascot disrepecting another mascot. No... this time, not even Dan Fouts could save them from this. It seems that the student body got a little overzealous witht their cheering last week against the Bruins. According to the Oregon Daily Emerald, the student newspaper at the Pacific 10 school, they directed their commments (and some of them would make a Marine on shore leave blush) toward UCLA player Kevin Love.
Here's an excerpt from the paper. The writer of the column is sports copy editor Robert Husseman.
I was not proud of what happened on Thursday night. No one was. But the members of the student section have to face facts.
We chanted "Love's a faggot." And "Love's a pussy." And "Love loves cock." We threw in "Stan's a traitor" and "Beach Boy beater" for good measure. We held up signs no one below the age of 18 should read. We taunted his family and occasionally offered to fight a family member. We threw in a curse word every chance we could. And we cannot hide from this - in the Pit Crew, if one is culpable, all are culpable.
I will be criticized for this in many circles, but I was absolutely floored by Kevin Love. Not only did he turn in a dominating performance against Oregon's frontcourt, he actually backed up the smack he talked about not caring what people said. It was a display of poise bordering on arrogance, but it was brilliant for the blue-and-gold-clad supporters and it did not go unnoticed in the maelstrom of national media coverage that followed the game.
Detractors immediately cast the first stone by suggesting Oregon fans' jealousy toward Love for spurning the Ducks. This would be true if not for the fact that Kevin Love is an elite basketball player, likely one and done, and is playing at arguably the premier basketball program in the nation. It's somewhat comforting to think that he considered Oregon during his high school career, but I can't blame him that he chose the better program. No one can. The argument that Ernie Kent could have tried harder may hold water, but Love appears to be in the place he wants to be.
His father, Stan Love, added gasoline to the fire by hinting at Ernie's nonchalance towards his son. The word "savior" was even tossed out. As if two Pacific-10 Conference Championships this decade don't prove him wrong, Stan Love's acerbic personality and perceived vendetta leave him open to criticism that Oregon's student section had no problem giving. This is a man, after all, who allegedly flipped off a student section during one of Kevin's high school games. You can't honestly expect the Pit Crew to let Stan Love get away scot-free. Couple that with the fact that scores of people who claim to know Kevin Love (I've never met him personally) hate the guy because he has an ego, and you have a volatile combination only begging to be exploited in front of the 9,087 fans at Mac Court. (Being on Lorenzo Mata-Real's team doesn't help, either.)
Having said all that, the Pit Crew was not creative. Our performance was pathetic. It wasn't even that loud. A patron of the game said on a basketball message board that "the Pit Crew acted like spoiled rich kids at Christmas who knew what they were getting yet were still sour because the presents weren't good enough for them." It's so accurate it hurts - with every chant, we sunk lower and lower in attempts to faze him. And nothing worked. (Although, publicly releasing his cell phone number had to sting. He supposedly received more than 400 calls as a result, although that number isn't verified.)
'On Monday night, about two dozen of the hundreds of Pit Crew members gathered in the EMU Skylight Lounge. The mood was somewhat somber and deflated. The Pit Crew president, briefly touched on the UCLA game, saying that we need to take more responsibility for our actions. Senior associate Athletic Director Jim Bartko, on hand to discuss other matters, reiterated the need for more self-policing and creativity and said that the athletic department is willing to work with the Pit Crew on enhancing the student and fan experience however they can.
Then, it was on to new business.
The Pit Crew had a bad game. We didn't live up to our disruptive reputation and we didn't fulfill our aspirations of becoming the Cameron Crazies West. Simply put, the Pit Crew is doing the best possible thing: moving on.'
Left up to me, they would have their mouths washed out with strong lye soap, then locked in a room and be forced to listen to Barry Manilow. It's one thing to cheer for your team, don't get me wrong. But when you start insulting another player and using language that would get you sent to the principal's office, then we have a problem. Clean your act up, Oregon! First your mascot gets into a fight with the mascot from Houston (and gets his butt whipped!) and now this? You are too good a school to behave like this. Pardon the pun - Oregon, get your ducks in a row!
Love, to his credit, did not respond to the students and took care of his business on the court. He let his play DO THE TALKING, not his mouth! He chose to go to UCLA, you felt jilted, as if the homecoming queen dumped you on the day of the prom and now you not only vented your anger on this young man, you also attacked his family. I don't blame you for wanting to be the Western version of the Cameron Crazies. You got out of control. Rein it back in before things get really out of hands.
I close with this. In the infancy of college football, there were a lot of deaths and injuries in the game before Theodore Roosevelt stepped in and basically told the colleges to "clean up your act or we will clean it up for you."