When you are a player in the NFL, unsportsmanlike conduct can get you a 15-yard penalty. When you are a coach and you injure an opposing player by tripping him, it should be called what it is -- battery, the kind that results in a visit from the police.
That should be what happens to New York Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi, who deliberately tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll during the Jets’ loss Sunday. Not because what Alosi did was overly violent. Heck, Raven’s Haloti Ngata broke the nose of Pittsburg Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger last week. It happens. But they are both players and both risk everything every single time they step on the field. It’s a manly sport (sorry women’s libbers) and violence is golden.
Even had Alosi gotten in a fight with a player, at least both people get the chance to see a punch thrown, not a sleazy knee take-down of a player that could have ended his career. It’s fair and it sells tickets. Alosi’s a coach – supposedly the mature, responsible adult who guides the actions of the players and teaches them what they should and shouldn’t do.
Instead, he’s a thug.
Oh, sure, he’s an apologetic thug because he got caught on video. ESPN followed that with this Alosi statement: “I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment," Alosi said in a statement. "My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for. I spoke to Coach [Tony] Sparano and Nolan Carroll to apologize before they took off. I have also apologized to Woody [Johnson], Mike [Tannenbaum] and Rex [Ryan]. I accept responsibility for my actions as well as any punishment that follows.”
He doesn’t accept anything. If he were the man that statement implies, he’d already have resigned or at least publicly offered to do so.
Instead, he cheap-shotted a player from a better team and gave the NFL a chance to make him an object lesson of how not to play football. According to the Jets' own site, Alosi got his undergrad degree in exercise science from Hofstra, while playing football for the school. Perhaps Hofstra and/or the Jets might include a sports ethics course that includes some basic points. If you want to be a football hero:
• Don’t shave points;
• Don’t cheat;
• Don’t play like Tonya Harding and try to take out a player.
And if it comes to any other obviously bad behavior that is in the criminal code, just pass.
When we were kids, we were told cheaters never prosper. We look at the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos and sometimes we aren’t sure. This is a time when the NFL has a clear-cut wrong and the way to right it is to make sure Alosi takes his cheating ways to another league – permanently. Alosi needs to be tackled for a loss, a loss of his job.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.