Something very odd is happening in New Jersey... the sports pages are looking a lot like the police blotter. First we have the sordid tale of five current and two former Rutgers University football players being charged with a crime spree. As if that weren't bad enough, this was followed up by a domestic violence incident involving another member of the Rutgers squad. We now have a NJ high school football player bashing another player on the head with his own helmet. Last year, the big NJ football story involved hazing and sexual assaults in a high school locker room.
What kind of chemicals are being used on the turf of New Jersey's high school and college football fields? Something has got to be causing this weird uptick in violent misdeeds being committed by the Garden State's gridironers.
ADDENDUM: I am a judo player, and the modus operandi of our sport is to throw one's opponent to the ground or to force them to surrender by not-so-pleasant means, but there is an emphasis on safety and mutual respect. We do some potentially dangerous stuff, so moral conduct and good sportsmanship is of paramount importance. When players enter the dojo, we bow, we also bow when we step onto the mats, and we bow to our opponents before and after we practice a technique. I always tell the kids I coach that the etiquette and rituals remind us that we have to be better than our typical selves. I haven't ever seen anybody cheap shot another person in all of my years of playing, and while I have seen rare injuries, they have all been accidental- a guy getting the wind knocked out of him, two guys accidentally knocking heads while approaching each other during a match. Anybody coming onto the mat with a chip on his shoulder, or looking to hurt another player would be asked in no uncertain terms to leave. There's even a noticeable lack of macho bullshit, on one occasion, one of my fellow coaches taught the mother of our gymnastics coach how to execute a major outer reaping throw and he was glad to let this septuagenarian throw him, and she was positively thrilled. I don't know what the hell goes on in other sports, but it really seems like student athletes have to be told to be good citizens, not just good players.