Bruning: Missouri game lacked sportsmanship


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Missouri guard Kim English reacts to a foul called against him during the second half of Wednesday night’s game at Hilton. English contributed 10 points and six rebounds to help the Tigers nab a 76-69 victory against the Cyclones.

Jessica Bruning

I am writing this column at the risk of sounding like my grandfather, but I’m willing to take my chances.

Whatever happened to sportsmanship? As my grandpa used to reminisce (usually while watching professional sports) about the days gone by when the marching band played the opponent’s fight song as well as their own at the beginning of the game, I would usually just roll my eyes. However, Wednesday night, at the ISU-Mizzou basketball game, I was appalled by the lack of sportsmanship I saw all around.

It began with the ritual clapping followed by a chant of “you suck” during the introduction of the opponent. This practice has always bothered me; it just seemed to stick out more that night due to the multitude of other disrespectful offenses. I grew up respectfully clapping three times upon the introduction of each player at my hometown, and adding “you suck” just seems unnecessary. The worst instance of this I’ve seen was probably when Iowa State played Creighton — while Iowa State’s team was introduced, the Creighton student section turned their backs.

Come on. Honestly, what fun is a game if the other team sucks? I would hope that they are a worthy opponent and will make the game interesting. But, when it comes down to it, even if they do, they are human beings before opponents and no human deserves to be put down like that.

After that little speed bump, I was excited that the game was so intense. The score stayed close and the teams went back and forth on the lead. We had big points, including a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer by Scott Christopherson to put Iowa State in the lead.

As the game went on, however, multiple male students sitting in my vicinity began shouting things like, “Don’t let a girl guard White,” and, “He shoots like a girl.” Call me feminist (which I am proudly) but that is not acceptable. The problem is that even when my sister and I told them so, they either ignored us or rolled their eyes.

Believe it or not, girls play basketball too. I’d like to see any male student in the student section go up against the likes of Chelsea Poppens or Anna Prins. I only played basketball for a couple of years, but I’m fairly certain that I, along with Chelsea or Anna, were taught to shoot the same way that the boys were.

The far worst offense, however, was by Missouri players Kim English and Steve Moore. Upon fouling out, they spent the remaining few minutes of the game sitting on the bench. However, in this time, they proceeded to make kissing faces and sexual gestures toward some of the girls in Cyclone Alley, as well as taunt the crowd. The best part was that one of the coaches sat right next to them and laughed while they did it.

If a man behaved like this on Welch Avenue on any Friday night, he would most likely be slapped across the face. Hiding behind the protection of his coaches and teammates is simply cowardly. Using the same pathetic bravado and arrogance on the bench as on the court (which caused him to foul out in the first place) is a sad display.

It is unfair to ask the referees to keep as close an eye on the bench as on the players on the court in the last two minutes of a close game. That is supposed to be the job of the coaches, but apparently whom I believe to be Missouri’s Director of Basketball Athletic Performance Todor Pandov thought English and Moore’s antics were funny and didn’t see any reason for them to be reprimanded.

Lines were crossed. I’m sure other people have witnessed worse, but what should have been an amazing game was extremely downplayed by the lack of respect shown. I would hope that we as ISU students would be conscientious enough to check our behavior in the future and that ISU athletes have the class to treat the opposing schools with more dignity than was shown on Wednesday night by Missouri.