In case you're one of the seven people in the whole world who doesn't know, the Kansas v. Kansas State game ended with a little bit of a scuffled last night. With the outcome already decided and Kansas running out the clock, K-State guard DaJuan Gordon stole the ball and raced towards the bucket for a layup that would have cut the deficit to 20 with a second left. Silvio de Sousa tracked him down like he had Kansas -21, blocked the shot hard enough to flatten one side of the ball, then stood over Gordon a bit so he knew who did it to him.
This happened right in front of the Kansas State bench, which emptied. Chaos ensued.
This whole scene, aging former coaches assured me from behind their various desks, was a black mark on the game of basketball, but... was it really?
I think, in their rush towards the medal stand at the Outrage Olympics, people sometimes forget how big basketball is. Two guys or gals going one-on-one in a driveway somewhere is part of it. Ten dudes at the Y with an aggregate age of like 900 years is part of it. Bangers in muni parks, intramural games, randos in auxiliary gyms... all part of the game of basketball.
Frankly, games of basketball end in fights all the time, probably daily. Competitors get competitive, calls or breaks go one way or the other, someone mentions whether or not anyone on that bench is like him, and hurt feelings lead to hurt faces. Sometimes some or all of the participants head to the parking lot to yell at each other and then leave. Sometimes everyone goes to their corners for a minute, then the ball is checked and the game goes on.
You don't get to the level everyone on the court last night has achieved without being super competitive, driven, and probably a little proud. Nobody likes getting embarrassed, and K-State was embarrassed by the score, Kansas was embarrassed by the steal, and K-State was embarrassed by the block. They responded emotionally - and poorly.
Before someone asks me to think of the children, my seven-year-old came out of his bedroom where he was supposed to be sleeping not long after the fight. His mom was born in Kansas, and he cheers for the Jayhawks as well as the Muskies. I showed him several of the videos circulating Twitter, all of which he watched without comment. When the last one was done, he said, "That's the final? They beat 'em?" His takeaway from the 40 minutes of ball and 5 minutes of fisticuffs was 81-60.
De Sousa and probably some other guys will no doubt catch suspensions from this, which they should. They'll at some point sit at pressers and appear penitent, which I'm sure they are. But if your response to this is that it's a black mark on the game of basketball or a reflection of the degredation of society in general or an indication that these are bad kids, kindly miss me with that. Fights happen.