A Memphis Player Is Being Let Go From The Team After Tackling The Auburn Ball Boy And Stealing The Game Ball
BR- Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case Wednesday when Auburn beat Memphis, 31-10, in the Birmingham Bowl. After the game, Memphis safety Reggis Ball appeared to lay out an Auburn ball boy, snatch a pigskin and run off.
The University of Memphis athletic department later released a statement declaring that Ball had been dismissed from the team for his actions:
Ball had two picks in the contest, one of which he returned for his team’s only touchdown. As Kevin Trahan of SB Nation noted, Ball trotted back to the sideline with the intercepted touchdown ball after referees tried to get it from him.
According to Michael Niziolek of the Ledger-Enquirer, this isn’t uncommon:
Members of Auburn’s equipment staff were alerted Ball tries to steal a football from opposing teams after the game every time he gets an interception.
Ball had two interceptions in the 31-10 loss and returned his second pick for a touchdown in the second quarter, but he didn’t get away with one of Auburn’s eight game balls.
On the surface there is no explanation for Reggis Ball's actions after the Birmingham Bowl. I mean, tackling a ball boy and running away with the ball in one hand and a middle finger raised on the other is surely conduct that is considered unbecoming of today's student athlete.
That is, until you realize that this was a ritual, and if there is one thing I know about rituals it's that once they are developed they cannot be broken. That's why this isn't Reggis Ball's fault at all. He almost had to spear the ball boy to the ground and strip him of the game ball. That's what he does. I suppose you could say that stiff arming his head into the turf afterwards was overkill, but the best way to make sure ball boy's don't get assaulted is to not encourage your players to assault ball boys as a form of superstition.
That's why Memphis' is to blame. This wasn't some practice that Ball engaged in behind his coach's back. Even the Auburn coaches knew about it prior to the game. You let a young, dumb college athlete make his "thing" something as stupid and threatening as stealing balls from the other sideline and it is almost guaranteed to go poorly sooner or later. I'll be damned if I am going to support a kid's dismissal over something that his coach basically promoted through silence. Jesus Christ Memphis, figure it out! What if the kid's celebration was to fire a shotgun in the air after every interception? Would you just let him continue to go Yosemite Sam on everyone until a bullet inevitably came down from the sky and punctured someone's skull? What if his routine was to sacrifice a small animal on the sidelines after every touchdown? Would you just let your sideline become a pet graveyard before PETA finally got wind of it? You perpetuate ridiculous behavior amongst college kids they are ALWAYS going to push the limit. They shouldn't kick him off the team for behavior that they failed to put a stop to. They should kick themselves off the staff for not realizing that when you give a college football player an inch he's going to beat the piss out of a ball boy and take a mile.