I debated with myself for a long time on whether or not to write this post. That debate went something like this:
Fan TB: Don't waste the space writing about it! Frank apologized. Merriewether said it's no big deal. Even the media, shockingly, isn't scandalizing the whole thing. Let it go!
Objective Observer TB: No, you have to write about it. It's news about your team. The readers want to know what your take is, and the fans of other teams want to trash-talk you if you soft-sell it.
Shockingly, my more level-headed side won out, and I decided to set forth my thoughts regarding "The Incident." As you probably know, we're talking about the incident in which Frank Martin "flick[ed]" Chris Merriewether after the graduate-level senior committed a horrendous and costly turnover late in the game against Missouri.
Panjandrum and I watched the game at a bar in the midst of a sea of Mizzou fans. As Pan put it, Mizzou is kind of a big deal in North Kansas City these days. Anyway, I saw the incident, and remember thinking that it wasn't really a big deal, but would probably be the kind of thing that would get some run on a cesspool like Tigerboard to show that Martin is an out-of-control psycho who might kill someone someday. It didn't even strike me as worth mentioning to Pan at the time, and he didn't mention it to me, so either he didn't see it, or he had similar thoughts. Imagine my surprise, then, when I foolishly watched the late local news later -- why you would ever do this in KC, I'll never know -- and heard the sports anchor refer to what sounded like some terrible incident that had overshadowed one of the more entertaining Big 12 basketball games in recent years.
What happened, I wondered? Did our team get into a fight in the locker room? Did one of the Antlers finally get a few teeth deservedly knocked out? Did Mike Anderson ask if Denis Clemente had his green card? Of course, the answer was no, the incident being referred to was Martin's contact with Merriewether on the sidelines.
Look, what Frank did cannot be condoned. We have a word for that in Missouri, and it's called battery. You don't go around hitting people, no matter the emotion of a big moment in a basketball game. Sure, Merriewether isn't going to sue Frank over it, and the Boone County prosecutor isn't going to press charges, but it's just not the way to handle things.
Despite all that, what could have been a bad situation was handled correctly. Before being asked about it, or even being informed that cameras had caught the incident, Martin apologized. It was the first thing he did when he went to the press room. When Merriewether was asked about it, he said it was no big deal to him. Chris knows Frank wasn't trying to hurt him. I won't claim to know what was said between the two or what's going on in Frank's head, but I'm going to guess that Frank feels bad about the situation, and Merriewether saw that he was sincere.
Now, this isn't one of those things that can become a regular occurrence with a similar reaction. Once is an accident, and an apology is acceptable. We give second chances. Twice, or more, is a pattern, and apologies don't wash anymore. Because he's my team's coach and I really respect everything that he's done in Manhattan, I'm going to give him a second chance and move on from this incident. If you disagree, that's your prerogative, but you're not going to convince me, so you might as well save it.
I'm done with this issue. It's time to focus on Texas A&M.