(So I posted this in a comment and figured I might as well throw it up in a Fan Post for anyone outside of that thread to see.)
To all the non-UT fans: I guess I should go ahead and jump out for all of us in saying that we are not trying to Justify / Approve of the actions done by more than five but less than ten Tennessee Football Players to the guy. We aren’t. We all know it’s bad, it’s wrong, and if there are more people suspended and/or dismissed from the Team over this then I really doubt you’ll find anybody on this blog saying the punishment was too harsh. These guys have dug themselves a hole that Dooley and the Justice System will try to sort out.
What we are doing is trying to ascertain the actual story that happened as well, because we, Iunno, kinda give a crap about it. It’s somewhat worse for Montario Hughes to turn around and beat the hell outta some guy who “bumped” into him than if Greg King threw a punch at a guy who knocked Hughes first. And we’d like to know who it was who did instigate the whole thing from our end. Was it Hughes? Was it Nelson? Was it King? These questions do matter and asking them does not mean that we’re trying to say “OMG Hughes Was Only Bad Guy Let King Go He’s Innocent!!11” What it means is that we’re trying to sort out the details of just what happened so that we can try to understand what the final punishments of this will be.
Look, from an outside perspective I’m about 95% sure that you look at “Tennessee Players Start Bar Fight” and sneer and sit on the edge of your seats to await the punishment because .. well .. you aren’t a fan. That’s the natural reaction. I know it’s what I feel like when I see some troubles caused in Florida, Georgia (most often Georgia!), Alabama, Southern Cal, etc. I really don’t care too much for the details facts and instead simply pay attention to the bigger facts and equate “that punishment should mean this.”
So understand us before you come around telling us that we’re trying to rationalize this whole incident or say “If they aren’t charged officially they did nothing wrong!!” None of us, that I have read, are trying to do that. Two players were suspended without a single known “official” scratch against them and nobody has said that their punishment was too high. If every single person involved in this got dismissed I’d probably be like “Wow, that was a bit harsh but we’ll be better in the long-term.”
Further, Cardsfan25 said this:
anyone doubt that 7 UT football players brutally attacked one short fat dude, and and off duty cop and put them both in the hospital.
Honestly? I don’t want any player who’d do anything criminal to be on my football team for the sole reason that it’s my dream to be able to play football for the University of Tennessee. The fact is that I’ve not been graced with that level of athleticism and/or drive to do that so I look at those who can live my dream with a level of contempt and demand. But let’s be honest: if Football was played only by those with spotless criminal records then .. well .. I’m not sure the complete consequences but I do know probably 25% of every team in the SEC would be gone.
Not to mention the whole point of this debate is to determine whether the Tennessee players attacked or defended way, way, way, way more than they should have. Does anyone doubt they assaulted Mr. Russell? I don’t think so. But right now we do have different stories on who started the fight and, as there isn’t really anything there to tell fact from fiction on that point at the moment, we can only speculate which, crazy enough, is what we are doing.
Finally, saying something like “Do you want people capable of this to play on your team??!!” is poor logic in the extreme. Everybody is capable of that, or of doing something bad and making poor decisions, sometime very poor. That’s why we have the Justice System and a Coach: so that we have people in place who we trust to determine when that poor judgment crosses lines that can’t be uncrossed and have the power to remove those individuals from their positions, or inflict other punishment upon them. And right now, in Dooley I Trust.