Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oregon Ducks to win tonight’s “Civil War”

Here’s hoping the Oregon Ducks win tonight’s football game with Oregon State, the traditional season-ender known as the “Civil War.”

It would give Oregon its first Pac 10 Championship since 2001, but more important ethically, it would give the nation reason to pay attention to Chip Kelly, Oregon’s young coach and an exemplar of ethical coaching.

Back in September the Ducks lost their opener to powerful Boise State, and at the end of the game Oregon’s top player, star running back Legarrette Blount sucker punched a Boise State player. Kelly wasted no time suspending his star for the rest of the season. (By comparison, Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer suspended his top defender for one half for attempting to gouge out the eye of an opponent.)

Adding to Kelly’s ethical résumé, he allowed Blount to keep his scholarship, thus preventing Kelly from recruiting a replacement. Kelly reasoned that Blount’s penalty should be losing his place on the team, not his education.

After weeks of good behavior by Blount, and after his substitute, freshman LaMichael James, had unexpectedly performed like a super star, Kelly allowed Blount to rejoin the team.

Sadly America mostly subscribes to Leo Durocher’s dictum, “The nice guys are all over there, in seventh place.” An Oregon win tonight will let America get to know a nice guy who finished first.

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