Discussion of the Homecoming game melee has been beaten to a pulp. But what hasn’t been talked about is how things unraveled so easily and what it means for future Viking sports games.
While the backbone of football is built on aggression and confrontation, College of the Desert players were overzealous in their smack-talk and rough play from the start. Viking Coach Brett Peabody noticed the situation mid-game and said he wasn’t sure both teams shaking hands at the end would be a smart idea. Desert officials should have tightened the reins and reinforced good character and sportsmanship.
Unfortunately the dispute overshadowed the Vikes 55-10 win. LBCC Athletic Director Joe Cascio said the department has identified several student-athletes who will be recommended for disciplinary action. Cascio said they “will assist the Southern California Football Association in their investigation, and will make sure nothing like this happens again at LBCC.”
With only one police car present and back-up cars arriving at the brawl’s end, it’s hard to see what police could have done. Coaches and officials from both sides made good but futile attempts to stop the mobs of players from leaving the benches. The fight could have been a non-issue if referees reacted promptly, instead of waiting for it to simmer out by itself.
Community College athletic rules need to be reinforced and taken seriously by everyone involved. LBCC actively looks to avoid violence and crime and stints like this only promote it. Luckily the Pop Warner youth football players and cheerleaders left minutes before the fight broke out, preventing exposure to the chaos.
The barbaric truth is that, in the world of sports, fans love a good fight. But when a player’s drive shifts from winning the game to attempting to seriously hurt another person, there’s a problem.