Brandon Spikes deserves some credit. He just righted a wrong by his own coach.
Spikes was suspended by Florida coach Urban Meyer for only the first half of Saturday’s Vanderbilt game after television cameras in last week’s Georgia-Florida caught him trying to eye-gouge Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey. But the firestorm of negative publicity and resulting pressure led Spikes to announce Wednesday he is going to sit out the whole game.
“I really don’t want to be a distraction to the team,” Spikes told Florida reporters after practice Wednesday. “I want the guys to prepare without any negative things going on. I feel like if I was playing it would be a big thing. … I’m just trying to stay out of the way and motivate the guys. I’m pretty sure the staff has got may back and my teammates really support me on this decision.”
Basically, Spikes is doing what Meyer wouldn’t: He is accepting responsibility, doing the right thing and putting his team first. Fact is, this also should go a long way with NFL scouts who might have wondered about Spikes’ character after the play. It will diminish any potential criticism of the NFL team that drafts him. (I’ve looked at a few 2010 mock drafts and Spikes is projected as a late first-round pick.)
Meyer said Spikes, “came to see us [Tuesday] night, [defensive coordiantor Charlie] Strong and myself. A lot of the negative things out there are really weighing heavy on [Spikes'] heart right now. As a group we decided it would be in the best interest of the team not to play him Saturday.”
Question: Why is Meyer suggesting he had any role in this decision when Spikes is the one who stepped up and asked for it?
It’s worth repeating: Meyer was not going to suspend Spikes at all. He only looked into the incident after both his wife and Strong said something to him about it. Spikes deserves all the credit here.