Send in the Goons

tommy neumann February 23, 2009 0

the-goonSometimes when you’re watching sports on a boring day, the very unexpected can happen and you can’t believe what you are seeing. On Feb 22, 2005, controversy ensued when Temple University basketball coach John Chaney ordered seldom-used forward Nehemiah Ingram into the game to commit hard fouls against St. Joseph’s in response to what he thought were illegal screens that were not being called by the officials.

Ingram immediately started throwing his arms around and tossing elbows, connecting to the chin of Hawks center Dwayne Jones and he also fouled John Bryant so hard that he fractured his arm and missed the remainder of the season. Ingram fouled out in four minutes, his average playing time for a game that season.

After Saint Josephs clinched a share of its fifth straight Atlantic 10 title with the 63-56 victory, Chaney admitted to “ sending a message” and he also stated “ I’m going to send in what we used to do years ago, send in the goons.” There is no doubt that what Chaney did was inexcusable, but he was a proud black coach who earned praise and scorn by standing up for African-American athletes who came from some of the nations poorest neighborhoods. Chaney was basically doing what basketball coaches like Pat Riley have been doing for years. You send in the tough, physical  players to knock around and intimidate the other team. Does anyone remember the Knicks teams of the 1990s and players such as Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason. Chaney came from the elbow in the throat school of basketball and there is no question that you have to be nasty and physical to win at the Division 1 level. The major problem with all of this was that Chaney announced  it before the game and celebrated in the aftermath.

What prompted Chaney to do this we may never know but it probably stems from the winning at all costs nature of sports, then some type of malice on his part. After the incident, John Chaney suspended himself for one game and upon hearing of the severity of Bryant’s injury, suspended himself for the rest of the regular season and Atlantic 10 tournament.

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