By Dan Mennella
There's a very fine line when it comes to coaches putting their hands on players in sports. I don't know if there's a hard-and-fast rule about what's acceptable and what isn't. Certainly context has to be taken into account -- a high school coach giving his player an encouraging slap on the rear end is far different than what former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice did to his players, obviously.
Then there's this clip ... and, well, you be the judge:
That's Dave Brumagen, head coach of the Lincoln Haymakers, shoving Omaha Beef running back R.J. Rollins to the ground in a Champions Professional Indoor Football League game. A fracas ensues, resulting in four players being tossed.
Sure, it's the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, which is not even on par with the Arena Football League. And yes, Collins does appear to both taunt Brumagen, and then pull an Oscar-worthy acting performance when you watch his spill in slow motion.
But still ... it's a professional league, and that sort of blatant disregard for the rules and sportsmanship -- from a coach, no less -- is unacceptable whether it's Pop Warner football or the NFL.
For his transgression, Brumagen was suspended four games and fined $500, which frankly seems light to me. Some will recall that a very similar incident in the 1978 Gator Bowl forced iconic Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes into an early retirement.
Competition is fierce at all levels of sports, and coaching is not an easy racket. There's a lot on the line for them, since their success is more or less measured in two very simple metrics: wins and losses. But where do they (and we) draw the line?