Griner should not get knocked out for punch

When women fight on television, it usually involves strategy at the tribal council or who is going to win the special date with Ray J.

Those who tuned into Wednesday’s women’s basketball game between Baylor and Texas Tech, however, witnessed a throwdown on a different kind of reality TV.

In retaliation to a hard foul during the game, Baylor freshman Brittney Griner was ejected after punching Tech sophomore Jordan Barncastle in the face.

That punch broke Barncastle’s nose and landed Griner one-game suspensions from both the NCAA and Baylor, sparking a national debate about whether the punishment was too light.

For those of you who don’t watch women’s basketball (and according to the ratings, that would be most of you), Griner is a freshman phenom, and by all accounts was a national player-of-the-year contender before the altercation.

At 6-8, Griner is a unique talent and an imposing figure. It’s easy to see when watching her play that her game could probably even translate to the NBA.

After the incident, sports pundits and talking heads around the country came out of the woodwork to castigate Baylor and the NCAA for not handing Griner a stiffer penalty.

But what they all missed or failed to mention is that the NCAA handled the situation correctly according to the rules in place.

Rule 10-7 of the 2009 NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball rule book states that “The first time an individual participates in a fight during the season (including exhibition games), the individual shall be suspended from participating in the team’s next regular-season game.”

Baylor’s additional single-game suspension on top of the NCAA’s punishment wasn’t even necessary.

It’s unfair to hold Griner to a higher standard for her actions than the rules dictate. She got frustrated and inappropriately retaliated in the heat of the moment, which isn’t the end of the world; the two-game suspension was more than adequate.

Women’s sports go largely unnoticed in America, and Griner is one of the people who could do a lot to change that in the near future. Calling for action that would lead to the public seeing less of her tremendous skills would be detrimental to the sport.

It’s a shame that so many people feel Griner didn’t get what she deserved, but look at the bright side: at least they are talking about women’s basketball for a reason other than the great below-the-rim play.

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