Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Tuesday's question of the day: How big a role should sportsmanship play when one team has clearly won the game?

November 17, 2009 | 11:47 am

How big a role should sportsmanship play when one team has clearly won the game with a lot of time left to play? Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.

Andrea Adelson, Orlando Sentinel

Boo hoo, Isiah Thomas and Pete Carroll. You could not compete this weekend, so you went the easy route and blamed your opponents for being poor sports.
What a cop out. Neither Thomas, nor Carroll, nor any team in America is owed mercy or compassion, no matter the score.
So what if Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik kept his starters in against Thomas and the Golden Panthers on Sunday? Those Pistons teams of yours showed plenty of mercy when you were beating down your opponents, Isiah.
Is it really a big deal that Stanford went for two up 48-21 late in their game against USC and Carroll on Saturday? Carroll reportedly was so miffed, he asked Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh afterward, “What’s your deal?” You know what the deal is, Pete. Don’t act like you have never piled onto your opponents.
There is no way Wojcik and Harbaugh are poor sports. They were just doing their jobs.

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

We all support the idea of sportsmanship, especially when one team is crushing the other. The problem is, sportsmanship is subjective: which side are you on in said crushing?
  Over the weekend, we saw two instances where high-profile coaches called foul. In college basketball, Isiah Thomas was upset when Tulsa was still playing some regulars during the second half of a blowout win over his Florida International team. In college football, Pete Carroll was perturbed when Stanford went for a two-point conversation after scoring its seventh touchdown in a blowout win over Southern Cal.
But were these cases of poor sportsmanship? Tulsa had eight scholarship players and was trying to find its rhythm early in the season. Stanford was trying to put as many points on the board as possible, perhaps mindful of rankings and polls that reward definitive wins.
There are always extenuating circumstances. Running up scores happens at all levels, but it may not be as deliberate as we think.
Playing hard from beginning to end, even in a blowout, doesn’t equal poor sportsmanship. Showboating, gloating, disrespecting an opponent on purpose – that’s the definition of poor sportsmanship.

Become a fan of the Times' Sports Facebook page and keep up with all the sports news from around the country, with updates and breaking stories sent to you on Facebook.