Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Throat Slashing

Here is one of many articles about the recent controversy surrounding Nebraska's head footbal coach Callahan. In case you haven't heard, here's the problem:
Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said Monday that he didn't make a throat-slashing gesture toward an official after Oklahoma scored a touchdown Saturday.
And that's the way everyone is writing the story. They say he denied making the gesture. But here's another problem:
Videotape showed Callahan raising his right arm, index finger extended, and making a motion from left to right across his throat.
Sounds like a throat slash gesture to me. But it doesn't sound like Callahan actually denied making the gesture, as all the reporters would have you believe:
Callahan said, "Oh, no. No. I was frustrated and emotional. There was no malicious intent toward anyone or any referee."
It sounds to me like he just didn't mean anything by it. As in, he didn't actually intend it as a death threat. It certainly couldn't mean that the gesture wasn't directed at anyone. You don't just throat slash in a vacuum, just like you don't extend your middle finger generally. It's always directed at someone. Of course, there is an alternative, unlikely explanation:
Callahan declined to comment on whether he intended the slashing motion to be a demonstration of how cornerback Cortney Grixby was held on the play.
Good call on that, because I don't think anyone would believe you.

But what's the big deal, really? I think of the movie 12 Angry Men with this situation. How many times do you make what could be construed as a death threat without actually meaning it? "I'm gonna kill you!" could just mean "I'm really pissed and I'm gonna spank you and send you to bed early."

The article also says that the NCAA has classified the gesture as unsportsmanlike conduct, and it should result in a 15-yard penalty. They didn't give the team a penalty (just like they didn't give OU a holding penalty). So, should it be just as big a deal any time someone does pass interference (another 15-yard penalty) and it doesn't get called? It's really not a big deal, even if it was really stupid for Callahan to make the gesture. In the end, the coach said it best:
"Someone is making a big deal out of something that's nothing," Callahan said. "I really don't know what you're talking about."

Edit: in other, completely unrelated NCAA news, there's this picture:

If you have to ask why this is funny, you don't want to know.


  1. lol 2 in the pink....(i'll leave the rest) :)
    i just recently learned what the hell that is... EVERYONE was doing it.. and i was CLUELESS!!
    heh heh not anymore! where did that come from - do you know?

  2. I don't know where it came from, but one of my friends has been saying it for at least five years. I think he learned about it during his military training.