In case you hadn’t heard the news, starting defensive tackle Antonio Shelton has been suspended for the Nittany Lions’ game against Minnesota in a couple weeks.
This suspension comes on the heels of Shelton being ejected from the win over Michigan State, when late in the game he allegedly spit at a Spartan lineman.
Since then, there has been a good amount of discussion on the nature of penalties, acting like you’ve been there before, and that all of these penalties are “not the Penn State way.”
Let me get one thing out of the way up front - spitting at or on someone is never okay, and Shelton earned his ejection and resulting suspension. It’s a degrading, unsanitary, and unsportsmanlike gesture, and the punishment should be swift and severe. Franklin pulling no punches on this front is the correct thing to do.
Now, that out of the way, let me just ask one thing - what would you do if you spent the better part of 4 hours sitting in the cold and the rain, periodically punching and hand fighting with people who would like very much to plant you in the mud and stomp on you for a bit, and then add in some additional late or dirty hits and general unsportsmanlike behavior?
Again, spitting aside, I think you’d be well within your rights to lash out after a while.
Of course, the rule book doesn’t allow such a thing, and for good reason. But if you can honestly say that after several hours of this sort of behavior, you’d fully turn the other cheek and “be the bigger man,” well then I’d have to say that you are in fact a bigger man than me.
I’m a very roll with the punches kind of guy, but when I see you regularly taking physical shots at my teammates, including late hits and using other unsavory tactics that should have been penalties - and that doesn’t even include whatever verbal sparring may be happening beyond our listening range - only to see you get away with it time and time again?
Well, sooner or later enough is enough.
So, yes, Antonio should not have resorted to spitting at an opponent. He did the crime, he’ll do the time. But SOME sort of retaliation after an afternoon of putting up with unending poor sportsmanship and cheap shots, defending his and his teammates’ honor?
I’m more than okay with it.