The Tennessee Volunteers were one of the first teams to start their spring practice this year. After getting beat up as badly as they did by the Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl, I think I would be anxious to get back on the field too. Since that loss their team and fanbase has been mired in doubts and questions. I was reading an article on ESPN.com the other day and I came across this interesting quote from Tennessee junior linebacker Jarod Mayo.
Disrespected? Interesting choice of words. Either Jarod Mayo doesn't understand the meaning of the word "disrespect" or he doesn't understand the concept of sportsmanship. We all know he's getting a fine education at the University of Tennessee, so he must be smart enough to know the meaning of the word. Therefore I have to conclude he does not understand sportsmanship.
Getting your ass beat in a football game does not equate to being disrespected. Calling Tony Hunt's number play after play after play because you are either too weak or too scared to tackle him is not being disrespectful. That's the way football works. You identify a weakness in your opponent and then you exploit it until they stop it or force you to do something else. Now, a case could be made that if Tony Hunt ran you over for the eighth time and made a snide remark suggesting you were scared to tackle him, which he did after the game, you might have a point. But according to Penn State wide receiver Deon Butler, the Tennessee linebackers were talking trash to Hunt after tackling him 10 yards down field. Who is disrespecting who?
The other thing that bothers me about Mayo's quote is the "we all" aspect. Is this a team wide sentiment? Is this the language they commonly use in meetings and practice? They were disrespected? Do they really feel that any team that scores more points than them is disrespecting them?
Jared Mayo and his teammates, if they agree with his choice of words, are either really stupid or really immature to not know the difference between disrespecting and competing.