September 28, 2009
The Mike Locksley era at New Mexico is off to about as bad a start on the field as anyone could have imagined: The typically respectable Lobos opened with lopsided losses to Texas A&M, Tulsa and Air Force and, the piece d'resistance of their September slide, a three-point loss that snapped a six-game winning streak against perpetual whipping boy New Mexico State last Saturday. A month into the season, New Mexico is 0-4, ranks among the bottom 10 teams nationally in total offense, scoring offense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, scoring defense and turnover margin, and has lost eight straight games dating back to last year.
It's no wonder, then, that Locksley, struggling through his first year as a head coach, is feeling a little stressed, especially when you add the weight of an ongoing age discrimination/sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former UNM employee less than six months into his tenure. I strongly doubt, however, that "stress" will fly as an excuse when Locksley is called to publicly answer for allegedly punching his wide receivers coach, Jonathan "J.B." Gerald, in the face last week. From the police report:
Locksley is a big guy -- 270 pounds, according to the police report, almost 100 pounds heavier than Gerald -- and joins a growing line of fist-wielding bosses in sports: See Woody Hayes, Billy Martin and Buddy Ryan, for starters, and they're just the ones who were caught on camera in the age of intense media scrutiny. Old-school coaching methods, I suspect, have always lent themselves to a certain physicality.
In the 21st century, though, swings are never tolerated under any circumstances, as Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount found out the hard way earlier this year. Gerald may not be pressing charges against his boss, but if Blount's haymaker at Boise State was worth a season-long suspension that effectively ends his college career, what's the call on a supposedly responsible adult accused of the same thing? Frankly, slaps on the wrist are as out of fashion for this sort of behavior as exchanging blows, and that holds even if you're 4-0.
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Hat tip: Sports By Brooks.