The biggest news throughout Wednesday’s news cycle in sports seemed to be the fight (brawl?) at the end of the game between Kansas and Kansas State Tuesday night. In a game that would have basically been a non-story given that the Jayhawks dominated their rival, what took place in the final seconds was something that was talked about on every major sports network, both on television and radio. For those that might have missed it, here are a couple of videos of the fight:
Benches emptied at the end of the Kansas State-Kansas game. pic.twitter.com/zWv46h3RJC
— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2020
An all-out brawl just happened. pic.twitter.com/73MBmr0RNf
— Riley Gates (@Riley_Gates) January 22, 2020
As seen, a Kansas’ Silvio De Sousa was dribbling out the clock given that his team was up by 22. Then, a Kansas State player proceeded to steal the ball to try and get an easy layup before time expired. Whether it was De Sousa being angry or just not wanting to allow the Wildcats to score two points, the forward hustled back, blocked the layup attempt, and proceeded to stand over his opponent. That’s when the madness started.
First off, let’s be clear: I was De Sousa, I would have hustled back and blocked the shot as well. Standing over the Kansas State player was probably wrong, but the Wildcats’ bench then emptying, therefore officially starting the brawl, was uncalled for. The fact that it moved into the stands behind the basket made it that much worse. Luckily, although plenty of punches were thrown, De Sousa was holding a stool but put it down before trying to hit anyone or else this all could have been much, much worse. For those curious, four of the players have been suspended:
Big 12 announced suspensions from last night’s Kansas-Kansas State brawl:
• Silvio De Sousa – 12 games
• David McCormack – 2 games
• James Love – 8 games
• Antonio Gordon – 3 games
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) January 22, 2020
So, here’s my question: Does fighting belong in non-fighting sports? Obviously, it will happen in sports like UFC and boxing. I mean, that’s the sport. But how about basketball, baseball, football, and any other sport?
As humans, I feel like we love watching a good fight. There’s a reason that in today’s day and age, the crowd gets loud and ecstatic while plenty of people bring out their phones to record a fight when it takes place. We all know what took place with Myles Garrett and the rest of the mess at the end of the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers game in Week 13 of the regular season. In case you don’t, well, here’s a video:
In basketball, the biggest and most memorable fight seems to be the Malice at the Palace in 2004.
There have been a bunch of other fights and brawls as well, those are just the most famous ones in recent memory. There are plenty of fights in baseball. It usually begins with a pitcher throwing at a batter, leading to the benches (and even bullpens) clearing. Some have gotten ugly, but the majority of the time, nothing that major takes place though Yasiel Puig came to the Indians with an impending suspension due to his part in an on-field brawl the day he was traded.
The Reds may stink right now, but this pic of Yasiel Puig trying to fight the entire Pirates team is amazing. pic.twitter.com/IeyqgBtPQY
— Chris Bailey (@Kentuckyweather) April 7, 2019
As I’ve said, we as humans seem to love a good fight. That said, there’s a time and place. Anything that leads to players fighting in the stands is a problem. The fight between the Pistons and Pacers is a clear example of that. Luckily, Tuesday night’s fight at the end of the Kansas-Kansas State game didn’t lead to any fans getting hit.
Fighting between opponents is going to happen. In the heat of the moment and with players competing as hard as they do, adrenaline, and just the physical nature of sports will sometimes lead to a scuffle. Especially given the type of contact players and opponents have in sports like basketball and football, with football obviously being much more dangerous. There might not be much contact in baseball, but throwing a baseball as hard as you can at another human will lead to said player defending himself.
I’m not saying that fighting in non-fighting sports shouldn’t happen or that it’s wrong, but what I am here to say is that players can’t put fans at risk. They must try and keep their cool before something even worse happens. Fans weren’t hurt during the brawl in Lawrence, Kansas Tuesday night, but given how many players were involved and how many punches were thrown, they easily could have been. Luckily, the only fight in recent memory that actually turned into fan(s) getting hurt was in Detroit 16 years ago. Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again or else it could potentially change the way we watch sports in-person forever.