“…a flagrant and dangerous act”

I’m curious what you all think of this.

With 3:18 left in the fourth quarter, freshman defensive back Trae Elston went high and hard on a Miners wide receiver near the goal line, although the play didn’t draw a flag.  It did, though, draw the attention of the SEC.

Commissioner Mike Slive announced Tuesday morning that Elston has been suspended for the Sept. 15 Texas at Ole Miss football game.  The release stated that the one-game suspension was “the result of a flagrant and dangerous act” on the part of Elston, and used both the NCAA’s rulebook and the conference’s own constitution to explain the reasoning behind the punitive measure.

Here’s the hit in question.

It’s a close call.  And I get that Slive is trying to send a message.  But I’m having a hard time seeing that as flagrant.  Just wondered what you guys see there.


Filed under SEC Football

73 responses to ““…a flagrant and dangerous act”

  1. That’s it? If Slive is gonna “send a message,” it better be based on something more “flagrant” than that.

    • robincrowland

      Flagrant…yes, Dangerous NO! The reason for the Suspension is silly. If it does not draw a penalty flag during the game. The rule should be,.. The subject is closed.

  2. Timphd

    Rambo could be in trouble if they call that flagrant. Looked like a good clean football play to me. Nothing above the shoulders, didn’t seem to lead with his helmet or elbows. Not sure that was deserving of a suspension.

    • Cojones

      Correct (sarcasm button off). The helmets seemed to have hit/touched as an incidental part of the play. That’s the only thing that Slive should be protecting of. You know someone pointed it out as a play to use as an example of a flagrant hit, but the question then would be “Who is the motherfucker?”.

      This “unprotected” part of the rule needs some big technical clarification or you no longer can try to separate the ball from receiver on those plays. Is this going to be a discretionary call by the ref and from the SEC Office after reviews point the hits out to Slive? I object even before we get in a rage when the flag is thrown in our D backfield. Or trumpeted from the Great Reviewer in the Sky.

      Pome ‘d Rue!!

  3. Spike

    Meh, I’ve seen worse. I’m looking at you Nick Fairley…

  4. Billy Mumphrey

    Welcome to the NFL

  5. paul

    I’m not even sure that’s a close call. Looks like good football to me.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The DB didn’t lead with his helmet and didn’t hit the receiver in the head but rather struck him in the chest using his shoulder. What is a DB supposed to do? Let the receiver catch it? I can point to about 100 plays that happened last Saturday that were exactly like this one.

  6. HVL Dawg

    The league needs insurance against the future liability from a devastating injury to a player. Trae is paying the current insurance payment.

  7. JN

    More proof that it’s all about the money. Simply put, if Miss was a national title contender and he was the best player on that defense…I’ll go out on a limb and say that play never see the light of the SEC Offices.

  8. DCB Dawg

    Thomas Davis would never had made it through a season if this spplication of the rule had existed then.

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    Nah. Thomas Davis and Greg Blue used to live for that. It was a shoulder hit, not a spear.

  10. Chuck

    Flag football is the new tackle.

    Seriously, it’s had to see what he did wrong. It looked worse, I suppose, because the receiver is stationary and then jumps a little to make the catch, so he’s more vulnerable to being knocked around.

    It also sets a stupid precedent because no penalty was assessed at the time by the refs. This is non-instant replay of the worst kind. Who brought it up? Does the league review every moment of every game looking for a double secret probation violation it can punish? Where’s Malamard and Neidermyer (the sneaky little shits) when the league needs them?

  11. Brandon

    That’s just football, ridiculous.

  12. Hogbody Spradlin

    Slive didn’t decide that suspension, a lawyer or an insurance company employee did. It won’t be the last.

  13. sUGArdaddy

    That is a scary, scary precedent

  14. DugLite

    I consider that a clean hit. It’s football. You try to not let the other player make a play. With that said, it appears the SEC is trying to cover itself from future potential lawsuits by saying it does not allow those kind of hits. Unfortunately, it is the society we live in today. The SEC will be able to use this as an example that it does not condone this type of play. Another subjective rule that can change a game. UGA will get bit by this I can almost guarantee you.

  15. Tatum

    Looked like the receiver had a chance to catch the ball but pulled up. That being said I don’t think the DB could stop once he was committed. It defies the laws of physics. “a body in motion tends to stay in motion”, or whatever.

  16. rugbydawg79

    Good clean football to me–how does he know the ball wasn’t caught ?-just trying to separate receiver from the ball-dangerous precedent if this suspension is allowed

  17. Chris A.

    If Mike Sleva thinks that is worthy of discipline for a a flagrant and dangerous act, then why does Penn Wagers still get to officiate?

    • Chris A.

      ooops misspelled Mike Slive’s name.

      • bulldogbry

        no, i don’t think you did. I prounounced it ‘suh-liv-uh’ when I read your post.

      • Cojones

        We do things like that all the time (I’m the worst). Sometimes the fingers type phonetically and you don’t catch it or don’t review them all. It doesn’t mean you don’t know. I thought it could be pronounced “Slavah” as in the plantation owner.

        What many people catch as mistakes in their eyes is usually gently and gracefully corrected without much attention. We draw more attention to our own mistakes than others usually do.

  18. Rik Smits

    The “flagrant” part is probably because the receiver stayed down after the hit. I bet if he would have popped right back up and run back to the huddle they never would have looked twice at it. I think they should switch to 2 hand touch

  19. hunkerdowndawg

    Reshad Jones was called for this hit in Stillwater when he did separate the receiver and the ball near the goal line. It was a bad call. It was a big reason that we lost the game as OSU scored a couple of plays later. But he wasn’t suspended. This shows the slow and steady progress of the wussification of football. Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott disapprove.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Nice catch. I was thinking the same thing.

    • shane#1

      And Ray Lewis is praying for us fans. The Defender did not launch himself at the WR as when the UT guy hit King helmet first and broke his jaw, no flag and the Conference said nothing. When Fairley hit Murray helmet first and gashed Murray’s chin open nothing was said by the SEC and no flag. You can bet your sweet bippie that this ruling will be used against the Dawgs. Maybe to get Shawn Williams or Rambo suspended if UGa is headed for Atlanta. Old Penn is licking his chops.

  20. Dave

    He didn’t “launch” and target the head….so I don’t see it. But it looks like you better go low to be sure.

  21. Newt

    Don’t think it’s a dirty hit, but if he plays the ball there he’s got a great shot at the pick. Just sayin’.

  22. Cousin Eddie

    Slive wants to send a message that he is going to be tough and try to protect players but also he used Ole Miss becuase he knows it will not effect the outcome of one of thier games. Would not see the suspension on a LSU or Bama player, might cost the SEC money.

  23. DawgPhan

    That is a penalty. It might not have been one 10 years ago, but in 2012 and moving forward that is a penalty all day. Just because the ref’s missed it, doesnt make it legal. Helmet hit faskmask. It might have been tough to avoid and the classic grey area, but this is the game now.

    • AusDawg85

      I thought I might be the only one to agree. Defender left his feet = cheap shot. Let him drive his shoulder through the receiver and pancake him on the ground without launching and I applaud the great hit.

  24. Gravidy

    Senator, you probably had an idea that most of us would think that suspension is ridiculous, and I won’t dissapoint you.

    I hate, HATE the way these plays are called these days. The rule is ridiculous on its face, and the enforcement is an even bigger farce. I’ll echo others by saying it’s a good thing Thomas Davis and Greg Blue aren’t around now. However, Nick Fairley DID play under these pansified rules, but he (to my knowledge) was never suspended. As I said, the enforcement of this rule is an aven bigger joke than the rule itself.

  25. mant

    First thing that came to my mind watching this.

    2004 Reggie Brown wants to know where Slive was….

  26. Russ

    Not flagrant. More like “made up and flagellant”.

  27. Scorpio Jones, III

    When the bureaucrats like Slive start impacting the outcome of football games (I know its Ole Miss, but still) it is time to worry about more than players’ health.

    I am surprised the SEC office had time to review game film since they don’t seem to have the staff to be serious about investigating anything else

    While I understand the concern, this is a very bad precedent to establish.

    And worse, Senator, than the NCAA vs. Penn State.

  28. gastr1

    I was having a hard time seeing what he did wrong too, but on close looking you can see that he got the receiver with his helmet, causing his head to snap back somewhat. Very close, though…I would think a warning would be more appropriate than a suspension.

    FWIW, this kind of too close to call=big penalty leads to flopping like we have in basketball and soccer. I hope the receiver’s reaction–notwithstanding that he may have been dazed from hitting his head on the field or any number of things–did not influence Mr. Slive, because going by the reaction of the offended player is bad, bad, bad precedent.

  29. Macallanlover

    Not sure which has been worse for the SEC, hiring Slime or putting clueless GT people in charge of officiating. I don’t know why adults (over the age of 18) cannot sign a release when they agree to play football, no one is forced to, that exempts liability from injuries. I know lawyers have shredded releases in most instances, but when did we start wearing panties in this country. Suck it up, if you remove every instance that can result in injury from football you can tear Sanford down, no one will want to come to watch.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      The kids or their parents certainly used to sign exactly such a release, maybe they don’t anymore, but they sure used to.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Coaches use to tell you: ” Son this is football… you ain’t hurt. Spit on it, rub some dirt on it, buckle that chin strap and get back out there.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Perhaps college ball is experiencing the trickle down effects from all the rule changes in the NFL? It started with celebration penalties, the horse collar tackle (refs missed the one on Gurley after his big run), no hitting qbs below the knees, D player must return to his feet after falling down before reengaging an O player………… and on and on. Hines Ward received a $45,000 fine for a “Vicious block”. Bennett looks like he watches old film of Hines cause he sure gets after it. What’s real disconcerting is having all these rules left open to interpretation by those “clueless GT people in charge of officiating.”

    • HVL Dawg

      Sign a release….. geez. Thanks for your “thoughts and prayers” for the next paralyzed player. A lifetime without the use of your arms or legs sucks.

      I don’t think you are as callous as your post sounds.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        The response was to a specific statement, and has nothing to do with my feelings about the danger of football, nor does my response indicate anything about my feelings in that regard.

        In fact, the main point of the release my parents signed was to make sure they understood that football is a dangerous game, legally, if that’s your concern, it had about as much standing as a piece of used paper towel.

      • Macallanlover

        No HVL, I am as empathetic as anyone about injuries in all sports. My comment was in responses stating the suspensions were to protect the conference from legal actions. Such suspensions would be presented as a defense that the conference was proactive and had addressed the issue thus building a liability shield of sorts. My comment was that before they tear down the game by penalyzing all helmet to helmet encounters, they should require all players to sign a waiver relieving the conference from responsibility as everyone stepping on the field knows a rule isn’t going to prevent these tragedies from occuring. Never has the sport spent more time on awareness than it has in the past few years, yet on Satirday I saw three players carted from the fields in games from around the nation. That was an unusually high number to me for a single day.

        You could probably eliminate more serious head injuries by removing the helmets. I wonder how injuries compare between Australian football and American football.

  30. MDawg

    Senator, I am an avid reader of your blog and a big UGA football fan (maybe too big for my own good). I promise not to post medically related things in the future. However, I am a physician that deals with head injuries on a daily basis. I will take this one and only one moment to talk player safety rather than football per se.

    The concussions in football are very destructive both for the individual players and for the future of the game. As more knowledge comes out about the long term deleterious effects of concussions on players future lives, I have no doubt it will impact the overall popularity of the game over the long term.

    There are some concussions in the game that can not be controlled. However, the blatant targeting of the head by players (particularly in the secondary) to basically knock them out in order to make them lose consciousness and drop the ball is very very dangerous. It would be negligent for the NFL / CFB powers that be not to penalize these act. Even a 15 yard penalty is too light. The NFL / CFB are completely in the right for cracking down on ” a defender aiming for the head of a defenseless receiver?” Do I think these penalties will ruin the game? No. Do I think that CFB / NFL players being permanently cognitively impaired for the rest of their lives will ruin the game… yes, people will stop allowing their kids to play.

    This is similar to evolving safety for race car drivers: updating safety harnesses technology, limiting speeds on the cars, placing drivers in roll cages etc. The sport is still popular and viable…. just that there are no longer 2 fatalities per Daytona 500 like back in the 50s.

    The Old Miss hit in the clip posted above (wether intentional or not) was helmet to helmet and you can see the player grab his head afterward. Likely a mild concussion. To me, it is worth the suspension to send the message to the players and coaches that this type of hit near the head is unacceptable. You can hit the receiver as hard as you want in the chest and their concussion risk is low.

    The worst case of targeting the head of a player was final play ND vs Wash a few years ago. Watch the receiver “extend his arms” after the hit. This is a sign of severe neurological dysfunction and that hit could have been life threatening. The players celebrating while the receiver lies there is just ignorant. This blog has an intelligent readership, lets not replicate their mistake.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          MDawg…I, for one, thank you for your post.

          I hope those of us who did not understand the danger of the hit in the Ole Miss game are a bit more educated.

          I don’t doubt at all that your concern for the future of the game is both real and accurate. My high school’s football field had a plaque on the wall surrounding one end of the field commemorating the death of a player during the game….in the 30’s.

          Football, especially at the big time college level is unquestionably a dangerous sport.

          The sport may be able to at least contain some of this danger in several ways, one of which is to force coaches to teach players not to lead with their heads…which most do already, but it is a natural way to tackle and a hard habit to break.

          Another is for the powers that be in college football to force tv, especially ESPN to stop rewarding dangerous hits with air time.

          Beyond that, a change in the culture of college football coaching will take a while, but can certainly be done.

          If this seems at odds with my post above about the SEC’s penalizing the Ole Miss player, let me make it clear that while the intent of the new rules is laudable, I do not think the process is well-served by the publicized intervention of an administrative bureaucrat long after the whistle has been blown.

          This type of intervention only serves to muddy the water and deflect attention from the root of the problem, it seems to me.

          The problem, again, it seems to me, has to be corrected by the various coaching staffs. If the SEC’s public punishment was designed to do that then I temper my criticism of it.

      • gastr1

        From what I understand, the arm extension is a reflex from the brain when under, as MDawg says, severe neurological dysfunction–it basically means the brain has lost neurological contact with the body, apparently.
        When you see that there’s danger.

        And it does seem to be a lot more common than it was 10-15 years ago, even. Why, I have no idea.

    • Macallanlover

      I agree completely with your concern about the impact of concussions, But I do think a line has to be distinguishing the deliberate nature of the hits from the inadvertent ones. That calls for judgement in the application of the penalties/suspensions and we will never agree on every call or decision made. Helmets are going to make contact with one another, and at the speed of the action, it will always be difficult to determine. I feel the penalties should be harsh when they are decidedly, and blatantly deliberate and could have been avoided, but feel the majority of the hits are incidental. That doesn’t make the damage to the players any less tragic when they result in serious injury but it does allow the game to be played. If we send a message that all helmet to helmet is to be punished we don’t have football any longer. Just an opinion, and not one made to increase the risk of injury.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Mac, I think his point is that even incidental helmet to helmet contact can be extremely dangerous, and to your point, very, very difficult to determine in the tenths of seconds it is actually going on.

        I do think good officials can determine the danger of these hits. It really does not matter, it seems to me, whether WE agree with the call. Helmet to helmet is dangerous.

    • HVL Dawg

      Thank you MDawg.

    • Thanks for that. You’ve just become our go-to medical guru at GTP.

  31. Cojones

    MDawg, people here agree with you on the concern for safety and prevention of concussion. There is a disagreement of how this was not worthy of a call during the game yet later, someone called attention to one play and put it in front of Slive’s nose (you don’t think he reviews all game film to search personally for a problem do you?). That precedent will make us jumpy about our good players being reviewed out of our next game because someone places select film in front of Slive.

    Some of us see the helmet contact as incidental with no harmful intent. The word “flagrant” does not fit this picture. Most helmets end up contacting other helmets every play of every game. Postering this play doesn’t do piddely for prevention of concussions, a concern of us all.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Cojo, I think my own mistrust of Slive’s action comes from a natural lack of trust of almost any bureaucratic punishment. As I say somewhere above, IF the intent of the league office was to send a warning to coaching staffs and players and not just get sweet points with the media, then maybe Slive’s action is a good thing.

      But, as I point out above, when the League as bureaucracy does anything like this it will be viewed by some of us as posturing because this is not something the administrators in Birmingham will ever be able to control and we all should know that.

      Send the message to the coaches and players, not to the general public.

    • Yes ,parents will not let their kids play the game…… that reminds me of warning labels on the side of cigarettes …people knew cigarettes were bad for you years before it became popular to lecture us about the health concerns.. Parents have been stopping their kids from playing football because they might get hurt for at least fifty years,IO know,because the biggest,baddest kid in my neighborhood was not allowed to play because mamma thought he might get hurt. I still managed to break is nose playing basketball. My point is either you assume the risk or you don’t. The people that will not or don’t want to get their bell rung now and then need not apply. Don’t play for the rewards that come with being a star athlete that is your decision but don’t even dream that people like Slive can or will do anything other than screw up the game with ad hoc decision making.
      He did not launch himself and he led with is shoulder…..they(Slive and the SEC) are only reacting to the receiver lying on the ground. but it just looked (IMO) that he had the wind knocked out of him. I agree Rambo is in deep doo-doo

      • AthensHomerDawg

        When I googled the 10 most dangerous sports(http://listverse.com/2009/06/18/top-10-incredibly-dangerous-sports/) football wasn’t listed.
        This was a surprise.
        #5 -Forget the wimps wearing pads and helmets- the real danger is on the sidelines, where estrogen and adrenaline combine in one of the newest recognized sports. It has been estimated that there are over 20,000 reported cheerleading injuries a year, making cheerleading the most injury-prone sport in the world for women. Many common injuries include broken legs and spinal injuries. Think about it—it’s like diving on land, with easily distracted co-eds serving as the water. I’m all for cute girls in skimpy outfits (especially those USC sweaters), but this sport has a lot of catching up to do, safety-wise.

  32. Cosmic Dawg

    I think much of the suspension has to do with intent. If you look at the video slowly, it appears to me that the Ole Miss player couldn’t care less where the ball was – he was going to jack that receiver. It’s one thing to want to stop the play, and sometimes the best chance to stop a play is the hit when you’re not in position to make a play on the ball. But this kid had a chance to intercept the ball and chose to level this guy instead.

    • AusDawg85

      Agree…he leaves his feet. As a coach, I’m sending that play to the league and asking for some action to be taken, or else the message will never get sent to the players that those types of hits are flagrant, whether or not the game time ref sees it or not.

  33. Spike

    Thanks MDawg. However, your comments, insight and facts are way out of bounds for this blog.

    • Macallanlover

      How so? Not sure what qualifies as “out of bounds” here because the Senator allows a wide berth to commenters as long as they are honest in their opinions and not being disruptive. Additionally, I feel most posters are indicating they agree with his overall message and intent. Issue may be taken with some specific details but his position has been well received. There are certainly blogs that would take his position as anti-football and treat his comment rudely, but not this one.

  34. WVMtnDawg

    I would have used Bacarri Rambo’s extensor posturing as an example, MDawg