With punishment already handed down, we're gonna touch on this incident one last time before we move on with our lives. Enjoy!
1. Shove reactions? What should have happened with Monty?
Norcalnick: I've already given my thoughts.
Avinash: I believe Montgomery was trying to pump him up and unfortunately let his emotions get the better of him. But the actual act was probably foul.
What I do know is that Allen Crabbe is a moody player, and he's also their best player. Because Allen is good, the team takes after his personality, so when he's down, it infects the entire team. When Allen is up, Cal can beat almost anybody, and in tornado-like fashion too (see Arizona and UCLA). But when he's down on himself, we can lose to Harvard or Washington.
And Monty has tried to fire him up in the past, especially when he's slumping. When he's good, the Bears are capable of beating anyone. He goes and hits a firestorm of threes and Cal can either blow a game open or pull themselves right back in it. He grabs rebounds and plays active defense and looks every bit like the pro prospect he's capable of becoming.
It is unfortunate that Monty made actual physical contact this time, which is clearly a no-no. I do believe that he acted with good intentions but unfortunately drew contact and is deservedly receiving attention for his behavior. It is what it is and everyone on the team appears to be moving on, but punishment should definitely be considered.
blueandgold15: The Shove shouldn't have happened, because no coach should ever put their hands on their players. Just not good principle. I'm of the opinion that it happened by accident - more because Monty lost control, rather than out of some carefully plotted motivational tactic. There was no real malice in it, so I can't advocate that Monty gets suspended or anything like that, especially since he's already apologized. Hopefully it's a closed deal now - and yes, even though it worked out well for Crabbe and company, I cannot stress this last part enough. It cannot happen again.
LEastCoastBears: Monty has apologized after thinking about it (and possibly having seen it on replay). Crabbe said that it is no big deal and all indications are that the relationship between the two of them, and Monty to the rest of the team, are still quite good. Nothing should happen to Monty, and I doubt nothing will even with some part of the media and Cal community calling for a short suspension.
While it does look bad what Monty initially said and then coming out to issue an apology later, I think this was just an isolated incident. Monty also probably did not think that a little shove was bad initially and felt the need to do something more clear than just verbally (by the way, I think a verbal assault could be a lot worse than what Monty did to Crabbe physically). Monty probably shoved harder than he remembered, but I would bet that he has now learned how this is no longer acceptable and won't allow himself to do that again.
I was shocked to see Monty making physical contact with Crabbe initially. Monty was obviously frustrated by the team's (and particularly Crabbe's defensive effort) and wanted to do something to motivate the team. He communicated that in a stupid way, but it did fire up the rest of the team (though not Crabbe initially), particularly Richard Solomon and Justin Cobbs.While Monty does not appear to be the kind of guy who would do this, his team has always had a gritty kind of player who may do that to a teammate (such as Jorge Gutierrez for the last few years and some much hated Furdie from those years). Cal does not have that this year, so Monty kind of had to take on that role himself.
The story continues to attract national attention. Shane Ryan of Grantland has more.
It's not wrong just because of the physical contact. We don't know the relationship between Montgomery and Crabbe, and to say that the mere act of initiating that kind of contact is, on its face, wrong, is a little too broad. Anyone who’s ever played a sport has had a coach that screamed at them. I’ve had coaches grab me to throw me into the game, to the bench, or somewhere else. There are times when this shit happens. There were also times when it got way out of hand. That's why it's important to try to decipher when we're seeing a moment of passion that isn't harmful beyond a temporary ego hit, and when things get egregious. Sometimes, a player legitimately needs someone in his face, and I apologize if this makes me sound like a grunt, but I don't like the idea of these things being policed by standards that are out of touch with the intensity of high-level (and hell, even low-level) athletics. ENOUGH WITH THIS NANNY CULTURE, AM I RIGHT?? (When you start to sound like an extremist, you might as well embrace it.)
So did state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, a Cal alumnus who reacted to an incident that received steady play Monday on ESPN.
"I urge the university to take swift disciplinary action of at least a one-game suspension," Lee said in a statement. "While I have a lot of respect for coach Montgomery ... his actions at last night's game are completely unacceptable. We do not accept such behavior by our professors and administrators and we should not tolerate it with our coaches."
Tim Kawakami weighed in. So did Monte Poole. Here's Kawakami weighing in on the incident.
Just think about where this could've gone...
Crabbe could have screamed back at Montgomery and -- given Montgomery's level of agitation -- possibly triggered an even more embarrassing Montgomery reaction.
Crabbe, probably the best player in the Pac-12 this season -- could have refused to return to the game despite the coaxing of his teammates.
Crabbe could have stunk it up on the court when he returned, or he could have blasted Montgomery (or refused comment) afterwards.
Any of those responses -- again, natural responses -- could've ended Montgomery's Cal career, if not immediately, at least by the end of the season.
Neither the school nor the conference can allow this kind of conduct, nor should they accept it. Cal 20 years ago dumped former coach Lou Campanelli for being abusive, though Lou's alleged abuse was verbal and pushed the team to the brink of revolt.
Campanelli never got another head-coaching job -- and that was before society had evolved to the point of organized and potent anti-bullying messages.