If you grew up in the Philadelphia area there is a good chance you’ve heard of Holy Family University. However outside of the Delaware county Holy Family University isn’t a household name. That is, however, until a week ago when the entire nation was disgusted in footage of the head men’s basketball coach elbowing and kicking a student.
By this time you have probably seen the footage. If you havent simply scroll to the bottom of this article where i have provided the story from Fox 29 News. It has been picked up by every news station in the Philadelphia area, and has gone national being featured on the website DeadSpin, and recently on Good Morning America. The Good Morning America episode, which aired on February 24th, featured the head coach, John O’ Connor, and the player who was injured, Matt Kravchuk.
During the Good Morning America appearance O’Connor was raked through the coals by host George Stephanopoulos, and persecuted by USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. Staphanopolos put O’Connor on the spot to give Kravchuk another apology, even though the coach had already given Kravchuk and the team personal apologies. It was an apology that Kravchuk found “Kinda hard to accept.” Kravchuk was asked what he wanted to get out of all this where he shuffled through a response until finally blurting out “I want some finality”. Apparently two apologies, one being on national television wasn’t enough for the sophomore forward from New York. (The interview can be seen here.)
O’ Connor has since resigned from the head coaching position at Holy Family, a move that isn’t looked upon highly by the remaining players for the Tigers. Freshmen guard Nate Hodge said via Twitter “Believe me we (the team) all feel the same. It aint right”. Hodge ReTweeted pro O’Connor messages throughout Thursday, and offered up prayers for coach O'Connor who he said "Was the best coach I ever had."
But before you jump to a conclusion regarding who is right, and who is wrong, let’s look at some facts. Kravchuk was a bench player, who played in less than half the games, who had seen him minutes dwindle to seconds. The practice in which the injury occurred took place after an embarrassing loss. The coach wanted to see intensity out of his players during a loose ball drill. Kravchuk claims to have injured his wrist, suffer a bloody lip, and scratches on his head. On Good Morning America he stated “I came to Holy Family to play basketball and now I’m injured” which would lead you to believe he was playing a lot before, which he wasn’t.
So here is when I step up on the soap box, because this story makes me sick. Kravchuk was a weak player, who wasn’t getting much playing time, and wasn’t a key figure on the team. The remaining players have sided with the coach, a move that Kravchuk said “was easy for them because nothing happened to them.” And then there was the “kick” that wasn’t even a kick, but more of a nudge with the side of O’Connor’s foot. That may be the most frustrating part of this whole ordeal because the nudge is clearly not a kick when reviewing the tape.
I tend to think that anyone who has ever played a sport is siding with O’Connor. However it doesn’t stop Good Morning America from acting like this is an isolated incident. Do you think Billy Donovan doesn’t ream his players out when they’re injured during practice? You think when a player on Syracuse gets knocked down during practice coach Boeheim coddles the player and tells him everything will be ok? Don’t get this story twisted, O’Connor isn’t the minority and compared to some top tier programs O’Connor’s actions might seem somewhat tame.
O’Connor was a coach who was demanding intensity, and instead of getting a man, he got a boy who ran to mommy and daddy. It is clear to see why Kravchuk wasn’t playing much after seeing the tape, and hearing about the police report. If Kravchuk couldn’t take a charge from a 50 year old man how was he supposed to play down low against DII players?
If my parents had filed a police report every time I had a bloody lip while playing sports I would never leave the court room. The difference between a man, and a boy, is that a man would have gotten up and continued to practice. A boy runs to his parents crying about some scratches. This whole ordeal, and the sympathy for Kravchuk through the media, is proof of the wusification of America.
Matt Kravchuk is nothing but a weak human being who wasn’t going to stop until O’Connor lost his job. O’Connor personally apologized to Kravchuk, and according to the remaining players O’Connor apologized profusely to the team. But that wasn’t good enough for Kravchuk. O’Connor is the type of coach I loved to play for, guy who demanded intensity out of his players at all time. O’Connor wasn’t in the wrong here, but victim to a mindset that college kids are just kids, and not adults.
So John O’Connor resigned and Matt Kravchuk has left the team, all of this over a bloody lip, and a few scratches. I’ve had worse injuries playing wiffle ball. I hope that some Athletic Director won’t cave to public pressure and give Coach O’Connor a job. And I hope that Matt Kravchuk realizes that Mommy and Daddy won’t always be there. At some point he’s going to have to pull up his big boy pants and become a man, not the weak little boy he clearly is.