Meyer goes soft on Spikes with half-game suspension

Urban Meyer just took, "Stand by your man," a little too far.

Urban Meyer just took, "Stand by your man," a little too far.

Florida coach Urban Meyer’s apparent policy on eye-gouging is now clear. Only a successful blinding or maiming can result in a full-game suspension.

Meyer suspended Brandon Spikes for only the first half of the Gators’ next game against Vanderbilt for eye-gouging Georgia running back Washaun Ealey.

I’m not sure if missing one half of a Vanderbilt game really qualifies as discipline. But apparently SEC commissioner Mike Slive didn’t want to get in Meyer’s way on this one. I guess Slive only worries about the real serious issues: sound bites about referees, not trivial matters like jamming fingers into eyeballs.

What happened Saturday certainly did not affect the outcome of Georgia’s 41-17 loss to Florida. The Bulldogs themselves have devolved into one of the nation’s most-penalized and least-disciplined teams. Meyer felt compelled to say the linebacker was retaliating for earlier incidents that resulted in him having his helmet knocked off and being poked in the eye (he said).

But Spikes’ act was on another level.

“I don’t condone that,” Meyer told reporters in Florida. “I understand what goes on on the football [field], but there’s no place for that. We’re going to suspend Brandon for the first half of the Vanderbilt game. I spoke with him. That’s not who he is. That’s not who we are. He got caught up in emotion.”

Ealey was not available for comment Monday. It was a day off for Georgia players (the NCAA mandates one day off per week for players). Coach Mark Richt declined comment on the incident Sunday night.

But that didn’t stop this from snowballing into a national story Monday. The strongest comments came from Mike Golic, co-host of ESPN’s morning, “Mike and Mike” radio show. Golic has some credibility. He was a defensive lineman at Notre Dame and an eight-year NFL veteran. He has been at the bottom of a few of these piles. So what does it mean when he calls this, “one of the biggest chicken-bleep things I’ve seen in my life”?

And what does it mean when he says it was worse than when Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount punched Boise State’s Byron Hout in the season opener? (Blount initially was suspended for the full season by Oregon. But several weeks later the school announced a tentative reinstatement, and he may return this week against Stanford.)

“You can clearly see Brandon Spikes’ fingers go into the facemask of the running back for Georgia, and, I don’t mean just go in there — go in there and twist around,” Golic said. “It is a bad looking eye-gouge. And I know this guy is a tough player and I know he hits and I know he’s considered one of the best linebackers. But that’s one of the biggest chicken-bleep things I’ve seen in my life. Ever. Ever! To be that good of a player and have to do that – stick your fingers in a facemask and try to blind a guy, eye-gouge him, is pathetic, Brandon! Pathetic, that you would do it!

“There needs to be some disciplinary action. Everybody wants to talk about LeGarrette Blount from Oregon for punching that kid. I’ll tell you what. I’ll take the punch over this garbage. Any day of the week. Any day of the week over that garbage on the field of sticking your fingers in somebody’s facemask and trying to blind him. Stick your fingers in their eye? Are you kidding me…?”

Golic later said: “What a horrible move that is. What a classless, unsportsmanlike move that is.”

Meyer said his wife and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong both mentioned the Spikes’ incident to him. His initial reaction was to move on. Then he saw a replay of the incident decided to speak to Spikes about it.

But his initial balking indicates he didn’t want to suspend Spikes at all.

“Very emotional things happened in that game in particular that were not good for either side,” Meyer said, “but the bottom line is we’re Florida and he’s Brandon Spikes and we expect certain things.”

Nice speech. But it would’ve meant more if there was some action to back it up.

If you haven’t seen video of the play, you can view  it here.

1,082 comments Add your comment

J Dub

November 2nd, 2009
1:20 pm

Darius

November 2nd, 2009
1:24 pm

Jeez, Jeff. Maybe you need to wake up and realize that the automatic suspension from the SEC if the play had been flagged and Spikes had been ejected would have only been the first half of the next game. Do you want some whine with that cheese?

Elliot Garcia

November 2nd, 2009
1:26 pm

It will be interesting to see if Richt will man up and suspend the Georgia player that gouged Tebow’s eye. I am not holding my breath.

Darius

November 2nd, 2009
1:26 pm

LOL @ me …

… cheese with whine … you get the drift. Of course, both of your articles today have been pure cheese.

J Dub

November 2nd, 2009
1:27 pm

Two sides to the argument Jeff. As has been said many times, no one but the players really know what happens at the bottom of these piles and there is no telling what may have happened to Spikes at some point during the game. On the flip side, what he did was caught on camera and was pretty disgraceful. The fact is that no coach suspends their star players for these type of incidents. There are surely exceptions but you make examples out of fringe players, not stars and that is the nature of the business. Fair or not, that is what happens. The boosters, season ticket holders, etc. don’t want to see a star player sitting for gouging an eye or doing things like our players at UGA like driving around without licenses. The shame of it all is that the coaches are supposed to be preparing these young men for life as well as running a successful program. The “running the successful program” side usually wins out with letting things like this go with little reaction but the “preparing young men for life” side of things has to bring into question, the ultimate life lesson quandry. If I am more rich, successful, athletic, (you pick the adjective)than someone else, do I get special treatment? Will I ever have to answer to anyone? Perhaps that is what has happened to the likes of Plaxico Burress, Maurice Clarett, Travis Henry, etc. No one ever put them in their place when they had the chance so when they got into the real world, they had to realize the hard way, THE LAW, that there were consequences for every action.

Bucket

November 2nd, 2009
1:28 pm

I’m so glad that Meyer cleared everything up for us. So now we know that it is ok to gouge another player in the eyes if it is retaliation for what happened to you. Ridiculous!

Gatorzip74

November 2nd, 2009
1:28 pm

While I don’t condone Spikes’ actions, I will say that I’ll take him and the other guys we have over the garbage that was on the other side of the field Saturday in Jacksonville.

ReptilesRule

November 2nd, 2009
1:30 pm

Go look at the entire tape and you will understand the punishment. Meyer realized that Spikes was reacting to what had been done to him the whole game, but that it was still wrong and deserved punishment. If this had been a random stand alone act on Spikes part, I think you would have seen a full game suspension. But the Dawgs, well they will want him suspended for life but not the same for the Georgia players who propagated this act. I guess it makes them feel better and distracts from the fact that their program is on the ropes…

Tuco Pacifico Ramirez

November 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

Whoever gauges the eyes of Tuco and lives….he knows nothing about Tuco!

PMC

November 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

So they reviewed it, determined it was worthy of punishment and one has been handed out. My guess is it will be so lopsided by half they won’t play him the entire game.

The fact that they punished him at all to me means more than the punishment.

I still don’t understand in a world of head injury awareness they let spikes on the field with a helmet that obviously doesn’t fit him. He spends more time with his helmet off than on. That can’t be safe.

Don Beebe

November 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

Darius. 1 he would not have finished the Georgia game. 2. Georgia would have received a 15 yard penalty. 3 the SEC would still review the play and be able to assess harsher penalties. I am no Georgia fan, but Spikes is a thug, and a Mike Golic stated “classless’.

archangeladidas

November 2nd, 2009
1:33 pm

If i was you i wouldn’t worry about whats going on in Gainsville. That garbage that uga is fielding needs to be addressed asap. The first half is fair enough. There are players who recieve no punishment for the samething or far worse. Believe me when i tell you, IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN NEXT SATURDAY ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. So please focus on helping uga win these next four games. GO GATORS!!!

georgiadawg1970

November 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

If there was any doubt about what a dirt bag Meyers is, this removes all doubt. I guess that’s the way they behave in Ohio.

bugman

November 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

Is it me or does this guy look like he’s 30?

Darius

November 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

Beebe – Thanks for the detailed explanation. I thought the average college football fan would have been able to feel in the blanks after I mentioned the flag, the ejection, and the automatic 1/2 game suspension.

That game was full of non-calls by the refs against both teams for crap that should have not been going on.

Where's my crack pipe?

November 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

Spikes was just pissed because Chapas was lighting him up all day!

archangeladidas

November 2nd, 2009
1:37 pm

If my football team was hot garbage, i would be complaining about this too. GO GATORS!!! 41-17!

big fat alligator

November 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

Late shot on Tebow uncalled, Spikes gouged and pounded in the first half, blatant unncessary face masks, all part of the reason for the retaliation by Spikes, Doesn’t make it right, but that’s the reason why. Hope the Georiga squad keeps all coaches and personnel in tact for next season!

Go Gatuh!

Dear Gatorzip

November 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

Nice post douchebag…

“Garbage” huh?? Stay classy friend.

Joe

November 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

I am praying so hard that this moron has a season and career ending injury sooner rather than later. Urban is a classless, spineless piece of trash.

Iron Dawg

November 2nd, 2009
1:39 pm

Urban can’t take his eyes off Tebow long enough to really watch the film of Spikes trying to BLIND another player.

Give us a break. FL was a better team on Saturday and he is still acting like this? He needs to be gone – oh, I forgot nobody was hurt – he just intended to hurt him. Urban is waiting until someone is actually blinded to really take a stand. Keeping looking down and to your left Urban instead of directly into the camera when you do something so shameful (indicates lying).

Gator Fan

November 2nd, 2009
1:40 pm

Jeff, wah wah, stuff like that happens all the time in pile ons in college football. Not condoning what Spikes did, he should know better, and be a better leader than that. Also, all the naysayers would never be satisfied with the punishment no matter what it was. If it was a game, they would so oh its only Vandy, a season, he should be banned for life. He made a dirty play, got caught, and will have to learn to control his emotions and retaliate differently when he gets gouged or his helmet ripped off.

Dbalcer

November 2nd, 2009
1:40 pm

Shame on Urban. I sure hope the SEC suspends him for at least the whole game.

BigWhoop

November 2nd, 2009
1:41 pm

I have it on good authority that Spikes was actually suspended for NOT bringing the eyeballs to the sidelines with him.

ThaMan

November 2nd, 2009
1:43 pm

Joe – add yourself to the Classless with that kind of wish.

Greg Cody

November 2nd, 2009
1:43 pm

Could really care less about the 1/2 game suspension!! The guy is a thug and always will be in life. But just looking at the guy I would assume he has never seen the inside of a class room. The attention this is getting in the media it could get ugly.

Darius

November 2nd, 2009
1:43 pm

Like archangeladidas, I am glad that this has all served as a diversion for Dawg fans from what is going on in Athens.

Beautiful Monte

November 2nd, 2009
1:43 pm

An interesting take from Schultz, who earlier in the season defended the Oregon thug that punched the Boise State player.

Perhaps the pressure of being a shorter, less funny version of Brian Posehn is finally getting to our man Schultz.

Larry

November 2nd, 2009
1:44 pm

Oregon has more class than Florida. They are accountable. Florida is a farce and it is a joke that retaliating for an action mitigates your punishment. Please post video of the UGA players gouging eyes. I think we would make just as big a deal if we could actually see some evidence of it.

Wow

November 2nd, 2009
1:44 pm

Meyer proves to be just as trashy and thuggish as his scumbag players. Anything to win I suppose.

UGASlobberknocker

November 2nd, 2009
1:45 pm

Wow, that Urban Meyer is a real hard a$$..Losing Spikes for one half against the Vandy ..dont know how the Gators will survive.

Seriously, all that means is that he might miss 8 or so turns on defense. That is a joke..Meyer should have either 1/suspended him for whole game (as it still wouldnt matter against Vandy and would look better to the genl public) or 2/dont suspend him at all.

That said, if it were me I wouldnt suspend him..that kind of stuff goes on all game by both parties.the Dawgs lead the universe for personal fouls..I have no doubt Spikes actions were retalitory.

If Spikes had been seen by the ref and gotten ejected it wouldnt have mattered.the Gators kicked our butt about as badly as it can be done. We Dawg fans need to quit whining and start winning.

CHDawg

November 2nd, 2009
1:45 pm

I thought Spikes should have been penalized for spearing Ealey after the whistle on a procedure call. It was in the 1st half and Ealey reacted strongly. Everyone was stopping as the play died–and wham–in comes Spikes helmet. I also thought Spikes should have been penalized for staying on top of Moreno last year after the first time he tackled him…it was a great, text book tackle. He just didn’t stop and get off. I understand the emotion, but if the refs don’t start calling these guys for this stuff, the game is going to be ruined. UGA should have been flagged for several other calls, too.

Skipper

November 2nd, 2009
1:46 pm

I’m curious to know what your recommended punishment would be, Coach Schultz.

Would a full game against Vanderbilt be enough? Would two whole games against the bottom third of the SEC East be enough? Would Vandy, South Carolina AND Florida International be enough, or does FIU even count? Would those three games AND Florida State be enough, or are they not good enough either? Let’s just suspend him until the bowl game, kill his draft status and cost him a few million dollars and call it even for an isolated incident that happened in a game between two teams who really don’t like each other.

jiff

November 2nd, 2009
1:46 pm

Meyer is disgusting. What a classless POS. Win at any cost is apparently his motto. What a great example for young men.

wawel78

November 2nd, 2009
1:46 pm

Dude got a season suspension for sucker punching another player in the PAC 10. I’m not sure if you’re trying to be funny or not, but Spikes was trying to gauge the guy’s eyes out. If you want to defend it, be my guest. It says volumes about you. The UGA player should have been flagged for the hit on Tebow. I didn’t see a UGA player was going after Spikes’ eyes like that, he should be suspended too. Just because someone did it to you first doesn’t give you the right to do it.

tim

November 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

give it up you lowlife puppy pieces of dung..your players are just as dirty girls it’s called big time college football,but wait you scumbuckets don’t play big time college football all the ain’t it awful comments must be from puppies who think that doesn’t happen, sorry to burst your airhead bubble but it happens on every level. So STFU bitches and get a team than can compete. You sound like every other loser…..

Dear Corrine

November 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

Best post of the day. Thanks for the laugh

Ross

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

God Florida’s a cesspool. Bring on global warming and sink that place.

This story has legs. It was on ESPN when i looked.

-drl

bullocks

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

It’s hard to accept UF has a legit power when they routinely make excuses for all their violent thugs. Did Crowder ever suffer for nearly killing a UF student who’s jaw he shattered?

gator#1

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

The way I saw it is that some cheating thug was trying to break Spikes finger with his forehead.He should get an Academy Award

Dawgs Fan

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

Can’t believe all you reptiles are defending this piece of trash. He should be suspended for at least a game if not more. Truth is the NFL is where he needs to be. Thats where all the THUGS hang out. You reptiles have just hit rock bottom by defending this street gang member.

Legend of Len Barker

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

I hope Richt addresses the issues where Georgia wasn’t playing cleanly. No, Georgia wasn’t showing very much sportsmanship during the game.

However, that’s no excuse for Spikes trying to blind Ealey. Or any of the other times Spikes was initiating contact after the play. And this isn’t the first time that controversy has followed him after a play. Check YouTube for videos of him trying to bait Oklahoma.

After replaying the video, this is what happened on the helmet play in the first quarter.

Richard Samuel is tackled. Spikes runs in. Spikes wasn’t even in on the play, which was now over. He and Josh Davis grab each other over Samuel’s body. Davis grabs a bit of dreadlocks and continues holding on. Spikes’ helmet slides off. Grabbing dreadlocks isn’t a nice thing to do, but he did not rip off Spikes’ headgear.

ReptilesRule

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

So I ask again…what about the Georgia players involved here??? Again, as I am accustomed to hearing from the UGA side of Jax stadium at the end of the games…dead silence.

Skipper

November 2nd, 2009
1:48 pm

By the way, guys, you car’s gas gauge tells you when it’s time to fill up and sometimes they gouge the prices at the pump.

Darius

November 2nd, 2009
1:49 pm

Urban could have suspended Spikes for the entire Vandy game and the entire South Carolina game and most of you panty sniffers would have still said it was not enough. Someone needs to call you guys a Whaaaambulance.

RxDawg

November 2nd, 2009
1:49 pm

Wow…

The difference is this was premeditated. It’s one thing to get some personal fouls with aggresive playing and such but come on.

A stronger message should of been sent. He tried to intentionaly take a player out of the game, possibly more.

Whats the difference between what spikes did and what the Blount guy at Oregon did earlier in the year? Oh I know, what the Blount guy did might not of ruined the career of the other player.

I know the Dawgs didn’t play with grace and honor by any means. This is different. This is planed dirty play. 1/2 game suspension!? Is this what it’s come to?

where's Tebow?

November 2nd, 2009
1:50 pm

Shouldn’t the Second Coming address this pubicly? He’s never shied away from cameras before and has no problem being the face and spokesman for the team, so why doesn’t he address this?

wawel78

November 2nd, 2009
1:50 pm

doh! bad spelling gets me!!

bambam

November 2nd, 2009
1:51 pm

The SEC better weigh in on this and kick this thug off the team for the remainder of the season. Meyer is an f’n joke.

archangeladidas

November 2nd, 2009
1:51 pm

If the university of “garbage” doesn’t win another game this year, will it be all Spikes faught? Maybe your “great” head coach should sent his entire team out onto the field after they score a touchdown. Jump around and dance like a drill team or something. 41-17! 17 out of 20! But your mad at Spikes? LOSERS! GO GATORS!!!