I'm trying not to be angry about this, but it's not working. I've never liked Larry Krystkowiak. I think the only Utah coach I've disliked more is Rick Majerus. And maybe Jim Boylen. But the little teeny, tiny bit of respect I had to Krystko is now completely gone.
I'm not really upset about the game being cancelled. If it were up to me, I'd have BYU never play Utah ever again in any sport. I wish we could just go our separate ways and never interact with each other again because the rivalry has become far from fun. What I am upset about is the "reason" behind it-- both the stated reason and the real reason. The stated reason:
"Potential for serious injury", huh? Gag me. If you're really worried about your players' safety, then you'd better just cut the team altogether because who knows what could happen out on the court tonight or the next night or the night after that? Sports bring emotion and the potential for injury with them-- it's unavoidable, no matter who you're playing. One of your players could blow out his knee or his ankle or break a bone in a game with Podunk State University, but you're not worried about that, are you?
The real reason? In my opinion, the University of Utah has just decided they are better than BYU in every way, and they are not even going to bother with playing sub-standard opponents like us. Because the most recent "dirty" play came from a BYU player (Nick Emery) and the Utes are on a winning streak, they think if they bow out now, they'll come out looking like the better team in the long run, both on the court and off. In their minds, they are the perfect model for how all student athletes should be, and they're not going to risk having that wonderful "reputation" ruined by playing BYU anymore.
I like how Greg Wrubell put it:
I'll be the first to admit that what Emery did was really stupid. But the Utah players are far from innocent. First, Nick punched Brandon Taylor in the stomach / chest area, and he fell to the floor holding his face. Can you say "flopping"? Second, Taylor wasn't even close to "seriously injured". He was perfectly fine a few minutes later. Third, while it's not an excuse, Nick was provoked. Taylor was playing dirty with him all night long. It didn't just come out of nowhere, like Taylor claims. Third, what about that exact same Brandon Taylor kicking Tyler Haws in the crotch last year? Or when Utah's Marshall Henderson punched Nick's older brother Jackson Emery back in 2010?
Yes, there are some stupid things that have been done by BYU players and fans over the years. But there are equally stupid things that have been done by Utah players and fans over the years-- it's a two-way street, people! I'm so tired of Utes claiming they are perfect little angels, and 100% of the "dirty" play comes from BYU's side.
One of the first tweets I saw yesterday after the news broke was from a
Utah fan: "The lack of respect from BYU has led Utah to not value the
rivalry." Again, I think I'm gonna throw up... Please give me one example in which Utah showed some respect for BYU. Anybody? Bueller?
Even Coach Krystko himself wasn't perfect in his college basketball playing days...
And the way he flipped his lid and essentially tried to attack Nick Emery after the punch and had to be held back doesn't exactly portray him as a saint.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone... What a bunch of childish hypocrites.
Play the game or don't play the game. Take the money and move on. I don't care. But man up and admit that both sides are at fault when it comes to playing "dirty". Maybe something does need to change to make the rivalry more civil (if we ever do play again), but it's certainly NOT just something BYU has to do.
I've never been a Ute hater before -- really and truly -- but I think I'm becoming one now.