Good for Morehead State.
Suspending Sean Woods was absolutely the correct decision. There was no other action that would have been appropriate considering what took place on Wednesday night when the Eagles faced off against No. 8 Kentucky at Rupp Arena.
Woods will be sidelined for Monday’s contest against Norfolk State after shoving senior point guard Devon Atkinson in the back with 5:51 to play. Atkinson had just fouled out of the game and traded some words with Woods before the incident in question took place. There was nothing about it that could have been misinterpreted. This wasn’t a playful or encouraging slap on the behind.
We can understand if Woods’ emotions were running high. Morehead State was playing Woods’ alma mater and gave the Wildcats a scare in an 81-70 loss. Morehead State led in each half and showed the same sort of character and grit that Mississippi Valley State exhibited while steadily improving in each of Woods’ four seasons at the helm. The Delta Devils overcame a rough nonconference start to win the SWAC championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament last season.
And this certainly wasn’t the first confrontation between a coach and his players on the sideline in any sport. They’re all competitive. They all want to win. The stakes are high.
But this is a different era. Coaches’ words are no longer taken as gospel and making physical contact in a threatening manner is a line coaches can never be allowed to cross. Athletes don’t just stand there and take it anymore. They won’t be ruled with an iron fist. Confrontations of any kind should be limited to behind closed doors in practice or in an office out of public view – if they take place at all. Allow players to maintain their dignity by not berating them in front of thousands of people.
This incident isn’t the best way to start off the next step of Woods’ coaching career. He’s fortunate his actions weren’t met with a harsher penalty. Physical abuse is a line coaches can never be allowed to cross and it shouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstances.
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