20 July 2010
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="(Darrell Sapp / Post-Gazette)"]
As the summer months wore on, I was becoming more and more worried that I would be seen as not having any objectivity. Seemingly everyday a positive story would come out about Pitt, and I would write about it. Could Dion Lewis win the Heisman? Is Pitt the favorite to win the Big East? How many first round draft picks could this team produce? Up until this point it has been an off-season of nothing but watch-lists and expectations.
That all changed when Edward Parker was thrown through a glass window in the early morning hours of Sunday.
Jabaal Sheard must be punished. There is no doubt about that. He is entitled to his day in court, and if any legal minds read this blog, they are free to comment on the legal ramifications. But in the court of public opinion, Dave Wannstedt must act swiftly and decisively.
No matter how badly we may want to minimize what happened - or to allow the fan in us to rationalize what happened - this was a very bad thing. The team must punish him.
This is why its never wise to go on and on with the "State Penn" crap. Yes, that school in the cowfield was publicly embarrassed earlier this decade with several high profile incidents. And yes, cleaning the stadium is a bullshit punishment. No argument from me on that.
But if Pitt really wants to embrace the whole "My City. My Panthers." tag, then they must show that they are willing to accept the responsibilities of representing the city. The program simply cannot stand for something that very well could have resulted in a death.
By all accounts, Jabaal has been a model student-athlete up to this point. Perhaps there were mitigating circumstances. Perhaps he was provoked. We don't know all the facts and there any number of things that could make this terrible, terrible act somewhat less worse (or at least, allow us to understand it more). But at the end of the day, a Pitt football player threw a man through a window and continued to pummel him even while a police officer was hitting him with a baton and ordering to stop. Jabaal deserves whatever punishment Wannstedt hands down.
(/Stepping off my soapbox.)
Bob Smizek: How should Pitt punish Sheard?