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Vicious Slashing In College Game Caught On Tape

Usually when one thinks of vicious slashing in lacrosse, the men’s game comes to mind. But the women’s game can get caught up in the act as well, and some recent video making the rounds on Deadspin right now showcases this fact in a pretty severe way.

The video isn’t the best quality, and it is cut to only show three plays in question. I won’t tell you what I think just yet, so watch it for yourself:

According to Deadspin, it was the same Oregon player hitting the same Detroit Mercy player each time, which is bizarre. Also bizarre is that, again according to Deadspin, this player for Oregon was issued a yellow card earlier in the game, but the refs did not catch a single one of these later infractions.

Here is the description from the YouTube video:

A lacrosse player from the University of Detroit Mercy gets smacked in the face 3 times with a lacrosse stick by a player from the University of Oregon with no penalty being called!! – This is the definition of unsportsmanlike conduct!! This is what is ruining the integrity of our sport!!

Allegedly, the Oregon player was suspended for one game by the team after they saw the video, but the Detroit program felt that was insufficient for three different checks that, in their opinion, each warranted an ejection. The video went up, and now the world knows about this seemingly contentious issue. All of the above details are paraphrased from Deadspin, so who knows if it’s 100% accurate.

I won’t even tell you her name, because that’s really not what matters.

Moving forward… who knows, maybe the video will come down eventually… or maybe Oregon will up the number of games for their player’s suspension… maybe someone else will step up and do something… but none of that really matters any more, because it’s all happening WAY after the fact, and it’s all reactionary… just like this post… and Deadspin’s post.

When I wrote about lacrosse going mainstream a couple of weeks ago, I spoke about a need to keep growing, and how that had to be done together, if it was going to be done at all. I won’t call the player’s actions on the field anything but what they were: slashes. People get caught up in the game, hard play can slip into over the top territory quickly, and we can all fall victim to the heat of the moment. Honestly, you see this in almost anything humans do. The drive to win takes over, and we lose control.

But what happens after the game is over, once the intensity of the game has worn off? This is what matters.

That simply has to be handled better if our sport wants to really move forward. The video poster says the slashing is what’s ruining the integrity of the sport, and on that fact, I would actually disagree. Slashing happens, and has always happened, it’s how we handle and react to that slashing that defines our integrity as a sport.

We have to take sportsmanship seriously. We have to be responsible, and accountable, for our actions. We need to be proactive, and admit when bad things happen, then work diligently to address them. We have to be better than everyone else, and not do things “like the big boys” where we sweep issues under the rug. If we don’t it will come back to bite us, as a sport, and as a whole. There aren’t tens of millions of dollars at stake here… so why can’t we be better at sportsmanship?

I will certainly not blame the victim here, or even the player doing all the slashing. Sometimes people lose control in athletic contests. It happens. It’s happened to me. (Sorry, Canadian Mike!) But some of the coaches, refs, administrators, and anyone involved in the handling of this situation afterwards is absolutely fair game. They ALL need to do better for our sport moving forward. They make their living off our sport, they owe it to us.

Did some people try to do the right thing here? I’m sure some did, but seeing as this situation is now out in the greater world, it is ABUNDANTLY clear that not enough people tried to do the right thing. There are likely a number of games each week where stuff like this happens, but programs come together and deal with it correctly, and it doesn’t become news. In this case, it was not handled correctly, and it became bad news for our sport.

Slashes will happen. On their own, they are not news. Slashes without any repercussions will also happen, and maybe no one will notice… the other option is that you end up on Deadspin showcasing lacrosse in a negative light. Who wants to be responsible for that?

Do the right thing, be honest and proactive, and keep lacrosse clean.

We WILL be watching, and so will everyone else.