Baylor's Brittney Griner assaulted someone on a basketball court last night and after dealing with LeGarrette Blount and Elizabeth Lambert, it's still not clear what the appropriate level of hysterical moral outrage should be.
From a pure "Dude, that's not cool" perspective Griner's sucker punch of Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle is just as egregious as the one Blount laid on Boise State's Byron Hout. (And it wasn't a "forearm." It was a wheelhouse.) It's actually worse, because the game was still going on. Never mind that the best player on the team got herself ejected from a close game; there was still plenty of opportunity to get back at Barncastle within the rules of the game. After all, that's what Lambert was trying to do when she shocked a nation with her vicious elbows. Jostling with opponents is what soccer players do, even if she happened take it beyond the bounds human decency.
But Lambert is also a girl. And so is Griner! So that's a problem, right? Should we as a society condemn her? Defend her? Write fan fiction about her? Pretty her up and put in her in the New York Times. Griner's coach Kim Mulkey says she will deal with it "and it won't be discussed in the media," but that seems unlikely doesn't it? Lambert became a nationwide teachable moment because she yanked another girl's ponytail. Griner may have broken Barncastle's nose, knocking her out for the rest of the season. I'd say the crime merits slightly more discussion.
I'm a little surprised to find that there isn't more hand-wringing this morning, but maybe it just takes extra time for people catch up on their Big 12 women's basketball highlights. Dan Shanoff never sleeps so he's on it, of course, and says Griner should be suspended for the remainder of the season. That seems harsh, until you remember that's still likely to be fewer games than what Blount got.
Even though Griner is basically Lambert and Blount rolled into, will she get off any easier than both of them? Will people come down even harder, because she's meant to be the next face of women's hoops? Are basketball fights just more accepted than they are in other sports? Am I just throwing out unanswerable questions, because I can't decide if Griner is the worst person in America or just a kid with lousy temper? I'm sure plenty of people will have an answer for me before this week is over. (Or will they?)