Message Not Received: Sidney To Stay, Bailey To LeavePosted by jstevrtc on January 3rd, 2011
Earlier today we saw the fallout from the Renardo Sidney vs Elgin Bailey fracas from December 24th. The indefinite suspensions on both players have been lifted; Sidney is reinstated with no further penalty. Bailey has asked for and been granted a release from Mississippi State and plans to transfer.
The linked AP report from ESPN.com offers a preliminary account of the events that led up to the brawl in the stands. Evidently Sidney was trying to walk down the aisle past Bailey, who refused to move his feet to let Sidney by. This is what caused the madness seen on television and by the fans in attendance at the game. The report also mentions that head coach Rick Stansbury confirmed that Sidney would have been dismissed from the team if it had been found that Sidney had started the fight. He notes that the sending home of Sidney and Bailey after the scrap, “sent a strong message…that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”
From here, we can only say…are you kidding with this? How was that message sent? Sidney gets to stay in school and can play immediately. Elgin Bailey gets to leave school and has no idea where he’ll play the rest of his college career. Stansbury seems to placing everything on the criterion of who started the brawl to determine where the fault lies and whom shall be punished. Interesting, since we don’t recall the “But s/he started it!” defense ever working with our parents and teachers when we were children getting into arguments and tussles with our siblings and friends. What we saw was two college-age men throwing punches at each other — actually, though we’re sure only part of the scuffle was shown on television, it was Sidney doing most of the punching, some of it while his opponent was already on the ground — and evidently it was all because one guy wouldn’t move his feet. Sidney, it should be noted, now has played as many games in his college career (two) as he has disciplinary actions, and has missed more games (three) because of them since he’s been eligible.
If that’s really what happened, well, while it’s a stupid and petty thing to try to cause trouble by not letting a teammate pass down the aisle, it is not an embarrassment to your program and your university. What happened afterwards is, and both men took part in it. We’re not saying that the punishments should be reversed, or that Sidney should be dismissed as well (it is totally reasonable, by the way, given Stansbury’s “who started it?” criterion, to wonder if Bailey voluntarily asked for the release from MSU or if he was “invited to leave”). But we disagree with Stansbury’s take that he sent Sidney a “strong message” by sending him home from a tournament and sitting him for two games and then reinstating him just because he didn’t start the fight, just as we disagree that it even matters who started the incident. In fact, we interpret Stansbury’s so-called message to mean that you might sit for a game or two while we hash out what happened, but that type of behavior is completely acceptable — as long as you didn’t start it.