Where’s the common sense?Great news, Bison fans! There is absolutely no reason to remove 10 North Dakota State University football players from their No. 1-ranked team simply because they committed election fraud and put in jeopardy two constitutional amendments.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Great news, Bison fans! There is absolutely no reason to remove 10 North Dakota State University football players from their No. 1-ranked team simply because they committed election fraud and put in jeopardy two constitutional amendments. After all, it’s not like they kissed their much-older boyfriend and lied about it, am I right?
Remember the latter reference from last month? Jamie Kuntz, a North Dakota State College of Science footballer from Dickinson who, after suffering a concussion in practice, opted to film his team’s performance against Snow College in Pueblo, Colo., over the Labor Day weekend, only to be caught by a teammate as he kissed his 65-year-old boyfriend in the press box.
The teammate told his coach, who then confronted Kuntz away from other players. Kuntz lied and said the man was his grandfather. Later feeling guilty about having lied, Kuntz came clean about his sexual orientation and was immediately dismissed from his position for “conduct deemed detrimental to the team.”
When asked if the former footballer’s homosexuality played a role in the dismissal, the coach said no. He said Kuntz was dismissed because he lied to a coach, which is against the guidelines in the team’s players’ manual.
Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that the NDSU Bison and the NDSCS Wildcats are completely separate teams related only in that they are both North Dakota college football teams.
Now, to continue, common sense would seem to suggest that after what happened to Kuntz last month, more than one of the 10 NDSU players who pleaded guilty to breaking the law by forging signatures on constitutional amendment petitions would be removed from the team. But they weren’t.
In fact, only running back Sam Ojuri received a one-game suspension after officials reviewed his record and determined that there were other factors involving a violation of team rules. We’ve been told that the others — Lucas Albers, Aireal Boyd, Joshua Colville, Demitrius Gray, Brendin Pierre, Antonio Rodgers, Bryan Shepherd, Charles (C.J.) Smith and Marcus Williams — will be disciplined, just not in the form of a suspension or team expulsion.
Well, I guess that’s it for common sense. I better try looking at this with “North Dakota common sense.”
You see, Kuntz wasn’t a well-known player. The freshman footballer had never played a game for the Wildcats, having suffered his concussion during practice. Getting rid of him didn’t necessarily hurt the team. The coach couldn’t say Kuntz was dismissed for being gay. That’s not politically correct. So it was a good thing for the coach and for the team that Kuntz lied because then — just as they have done for every other Wildcats player in the history of the program who has lied to a coach (I say sarcastically) — they were able to kick him out.
But our 10 Bison players are carrying their team toward a chance at a second consecutive FCS title. Getting rid of them would jeopardize that chance. Why, that might be the equivalent of hurting the team’s fans for something these 10 little rascals did to make an extra buck. And that is certainly not fair to the fans, right?
So here is the lesson of the day sent straight from North Dakota colleges to people everywhere: Violating team rules will only result in suspension or dismissal so long as you haven’t broken state laws and you are not the reason the team is winning. But if you’re part of the backbone of a title-winning team, you’re all right even if you break state law, violate team rules and plead guilty to a misdemeanor crime.
Or maybe that’s just the way football is — criminals welcome. Gays, not so much.
Byrd is The Dickinson Press copy editor.