Spikes Falls On His Sword

The next time you hear a player or coach claim that they do not listen to, read or pay attention to the media you should respond with one word, bull.

The accumulation of media commentary and criticism of Brandon Spikes' roughhouse tactics in the Georgia game played a major role in Florida's best defensive player deciding to sit out the entire Vanderbilt game. In essence, Spikes decided --- and I believe it really was his decision --- to eliminate the distraction caused by his actions in Jacksonville and sit out one of the last two regular season SEC games of his SEC career.

I consider this a remarkably selfless and, yet appropriate decision.

First off let me state that I am a Brandon Spikes fan and it has nothing to do with his play on the field. I have had the opportunity to interview him at some length on several occasions and found him to be an engaging, interesting kid who adores his mother and wanted to turn pro after last season primarily to make her life easier. He also desperately wants to help his brother who is imprisoned on what appears, at first glance, to be excessive charges, but cannot yet afford to get him a first rate attorney. This is not a bad kid. He's a great young man who did a bad thing.

Spikes did a classless thing in roughing up Georgia running back Washaun Ealey though it was nowhere near the borderline criminal act that self righteous hypocrites like Mike Golic claimed it to be. He deserved punishment for it and I wrote on this site that I would be more comfortable with an entire game rather than the half game Florida and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive apparently agreed on. Even after the "victim" in the incident downplayed it and suggested no suspension was warranted the chorus of outsiders calling for stronger sanctions didn't diminish much.

When Spikes and Coach Urban Meyer announced that the punishment would cover the entire game it was clearly an act of contrition on the part of a young man who has nothing to gain by such an act expect his own self respect.

I hope Spikes earned the respect of many of his critics with this act. If not, it tells you a lot more about them than it does about him.

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