Let’s See Leniency for Oregon Duck ‘Satirists’

Updated Jan 5, 2015

I’m always up for a good campus protest. So I’ve got to give props to the Oregon players who made Jameis Winston their target on New Year’s Day.

They managed to mock Winston and FSU’s stupid use of the tomahawk chop — an insult to all diversity advocates — all in one.

A daily double.

But that was after the game. If you missed the game you may call that “football justice.”

Florida State’s Jameis Winston, dogged by sexual assault allegations the last two years, may have found a way to prevail in the legal system in the state of Florida.

But not at the Rose Bowl.

On New Year’s Day, the game was a kind of football tribunal for Winston with a national television audience of 28 million serving as jurors.

The final score was definitive: Oregon 59, Florida State 20.

It was an embarrassing defeat for Winston, the disgraced 2013 Heisman winner, who did manage to hold his own against his rival, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the freshly minted 2014 Heisman.

But it’s Mariota, who now takes his team into the national championship against Ohio State. In the Rose Bowl, Mariota was as advertised: A passer, a running threat, a leader.

Winston played well enough, but not when it mattered. One play in particular seemed indicative of the kind of day it was when the ball seemed to fly out of Winston’s grip as he recoiled to pass. An Oregon defender recovered for a touchdown.

It was a national lesson in humility for Winston, who after the game was seen on camera congratulating Mariota.

If football is said to build character, maybe there’s some hope for Winston.

I wish that could be said for some of the other participants.

As noted by the game sportscasters, nearly 70 percent of his Florida State team couldn’t be bothered to shake hands with their opponents. Most of the FSU players went straight to the locker room.

But Oregon too had an apparent lapse of note. Ebullient as they were, some players took the moment to jeer Winston with a satirical cheer.

They took FSU’s War Chant aimed it at Winston and took it up a notch.

You know the chant. Now change the words and say, “No-o000-oh, No means nooo…”

Repeat.

It was funny considering the current concern on college campuses across the country over rape.

Video was taken of the players and posted on the web by Fox Sports West. Clearly, some of the Ducks were engaged, and could be seen as “bad sports.”

But are they as bad as the FSU players who walked off the field without as much as a breathy, “Good game.”

That should be disciplined not the Oregon players.

But as the AP reported, the Oregon coach was not happy with his players’ chant.

“We are aware of the inappropriate behavior in the postgame,” coach Mark Helfrich said in a statement released by Oregon on Thursday night. “This is not what our program stands for, and the student-athletes will be disciplined internally.”

Helfrich was right to say what he did. He represents the school and would rather see things put in a positive way.

And as The Associated Press reported, Oregon has its share of bad boys.

According to AP, Oregon athletes have also faced sexual assault allegations. Three former basketball players were suspended in June for a minimum of four years after a freshman student filed a report alleging they sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the players, who said the sexual contact was consensual.

So people who live in glass houses shouldn’t do war chant satires?

No, it just shows that all colleges have a real issue with sexual assaults. “No means no” is the basic lesson that never gets learned. And people are a bit touchy.

But satire on the football field shouldn’t be left to the purview of say the Stanford band’s half-time show.

It’s good to see the Oregon squad is aware of a problem that some other players and schools still don’t seem to get.

By that standard, the chanting football players seemed downright enlightened with just the message that people need to hear.

No means no. And that tomahawk chant is still racist and stupid too.

Let’s hope Helfrich’s internal discipline is just a minor tap of the wrist.

Ten pushups and a lap or two around Mt. Hood.

Something innocuous.

All you have to do is read the reports in The New York Times about how Winston eluded the law — basically because law enforcement and the university failed in its investigative role.

Given all that, it would be a shame to throw the book at some Oregon players who chanted the right thing.

Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race, culture and politics for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org/blog). Like him at www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media; Twitter @emilamok.