Guelph QB Justin Dunk, as you probably expected, is suspended for Saturday's game vs. Waterloo after he was caught saying "fuck Western" right in front of The Score's camera after his third touchdown run of the game vs. the Mustangs barnburner last weekend. Guelph put out a statement from athletic director Tom Kendall:
"I have spoken about this with Justin. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but we both agree that his actions Saturday do not reflect the high standards required of all Gryphon athletes."Dunk also apologized to Western in the statement.
The optics arebad for the U of Guelph. Generally, football players tend to come from more conservative, straigtlaced families than the general student population. Guelph coach Kyle Walters, whose recruiting base is in south-southwest Ontario, has to worry about what parents of prospective players might think if let Dunk off without a wrist-slap. It's the, "What values is my child going to learn if he plays there?"
At the same time, there has been a trend toward the media overreacting about perceived poor sportsmanship by athletes in major sports. Just from memory, there was the NBA's LeBron James being scolded for leaving the floor early after his Cleveland Cavaliers were ousted from the playoffs, Detroit Red Wings players chastising Sidney Crosby for not shaking hands at the end of the Stanley Cup final, mixed martial arts' Brock Lesnar insulting UFC sponsors during a post-match interview and the fallout over Serena Williams losing a match after she told off a lineswoman at the U.S. Open.
The same go-for-broke mindset someone needs to be a great athlete does not lend itself to upholding Little League lessons about sportsmanship. Dunk has a lot of moxie and derring-do out on the field, a Superman attitude, but he got carried away when he sought out a camera and swore.
Ultimately, Dunk has made OUA football more fun to watch. For instance, in Week 1 against Queen's, Dunk ran to the sideline after a game-tying touchdown in the final minute of play and hopped on a bench to wave his arms at the Guelph fans. Nothing wrong with that.
People individually maybe shouldn't mind Dunk swearing. The university, OUA and its TV partner have different concerns and obligations.
Update: Greg Layson did the gumshoeing and a full story is posted. Apparently, the OUA received complaints "within five minutes" and Guelph had a few Monday morning calls. The Score says it will not adopt a seven-second delay.
" 'What’s funny about sports is that the reason you want the camera there (on the sideline) is to get a sense of the emotion of the game. And it’s rare that you get that,' said Greg Sansone, The Score’s head of programming. 'When you do get the emotion, you run the risk of crossing that line.
'When it happened I was, like, "Wow. Yikes." But there’s nothing you can do, it’s live TV.”
"The Score broadcasts without a seven-second delay and without the use of a “panic button,” used to mute profanity before it hits the airwaves.
"But Sansone said his station didn’t receive a single complaint about the profanity as of Monday afternoon. And, his station will not change the way it broadcasts University Rush on Saturdays.
" 'Am I happy that it happened? No,' Sansone said. 'We’re sensitive to the way OUA student-athletes are seen. We would never want to air anything to make people look bad. I feel terrible about the fact he’s suspended.' "
Gryphon QB Dunk suspended for bad language (Greg Layson, Guelph Mercury)
Potty-mouthed pivot sacked by Gryphons (Christine Rivet, Waterloo Region Record