My good friend Matt Taylor, who writes the outstanding Roar from 34 blog on the Baltimore Orioles, sent me a link to this video earlier today. Keep an eye on Andre Branch, No. 40 for Clemson, about four seconds into the clip.
In case you missed what happened there, Branch pulls FSU guard David Spurlock’s head back and appears to try to gouge his eyes. Florida set the going rate for an attempted eye gouge in the SEC at a half-game suspension after Brandon Spikes dug his fingers into Georgia RB Washaun Ealey’s helmet. (To Spikes’ credit, he voluntarily lengthened his own suspension to a full game.) Wonder if Dabo Swinney will set the bar higher in the ACC.
This won’t get the attention the Brandon Spikes gouge got because Branch isn’t one of the best five defensive players in the country — and because, let’s face it, New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert set a new standard for away-from-the-play violence last week — but Branch deserves punishment just as much as Spikes did. I know Clemson coach Dabo Swinney doesn’t teach this garbage, and Swinney needs to act swiftly to eradicate such behavior from his program. He should suspend Branch for a game before Branch has the chance to completely copy Spikes and suspends himself.
By the way, if you haven’t seen what Lambert did yet, Staples is right about her setting a new standard for dirty play. I would definitely rate pulling another player down by the ponytail to be worse than eye gouging in a pile up.