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Josh Boutte Deserved A Bigger Suspension

[lead align=”default”]We all knew a Josh Boutte suspension was coming, and the only question was “how big.”[/lead]

The offensive lineman for the LSU Tigers made the news on Saturday evening, but not for any stellar play. Notably, he clotheslined Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon after the Badger safety picked off LSU’s Brandon Harris to seal the game.

Here it is, in case you missed it:

On Monday, LSU coach Les Miles announced that his lineman would receive a one-game suspension. The SEC commissioner agreed with the suspension, feeling it is an appropriate punishment.

Run that Vine loop as many times as you want. You will see a hit by Josh Boutte that was flagrant, intentional, and as cheap a hit as you will see in college football. That play was as contrary to the spirit of sportsmanship as it gets.

Meeting Minimum Expectations

Yet, what does LSU do? Gives him a one-game suspension for next week while the Bayou Bengals play Jacksonville State. They are a good FCS team, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like they’re playing Alabama. The decision was made to sit Boutte for one cupcake game at home, get it over with, and move on with no further consequences.

The in-game sanctions were not that meaningful, only because of the situation. The referees did what they needed to do in assessing a personal foul and ejecting Josh Boutte, but it was in the last minute of the game and Wisconsin was about to run out the clock. LSU had a chance to show some real moral courage, but instead they came close to the minimum of what they needed to do in the eyes of the public. No kudos to the SEC, either, as they also passed on the chance to do more. Gotta win those big football games, right?

This is not a screed against LSU the school or the fans of the team. The Tigers were about to lose fair and square, and there was a very dirty hit against a defenseless player. Les Miles and the SEC were wrong not to make a stronger statement with this suspension. LSU does not need Boutte for what will likely be a romp over Jacksonville State. He’ll be back next week for more meaningful contests, but what will have been said to the college football world? At some point, integrity needs to trump victory.

On a final note, good for D’Cota Dixon trying to be the bigger person in spite of all this. That doesn’t make the hit any less wrong, and doesn’t make doing the bare minimum to punish it any better.

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