Cal vs. Northwestern: Were the Wildcats faking injuries?

It's not always Sonny in Berkeley - (HT minesweeper)

What are your thoughts on the Northwestern injuries? Fair or foul?

TwistNHook: Here is video of the injuries for people who missed it.

Leland Wong: First and foremost, I think it's unethical to fake injuries (and I was vocal against the injuries we faked against Oregon) and downright deplorable to boo injuries, no matter how fake they look. We don't have genuine proof they're fake, especially not when you're sitting in a stadium, so I give the player the benefit of the doubt. I'm surprised Dykes was so demonstrative, though. I would have guessed he saw a lot of defenders go down from his days at La Tech when they ran at an even faster tempo, unless it was happening much more frequently and at more opportune times with Northwestern. That being said, as some posters observed in the gamethread, it was pretty damning when Northwestern's guys were perfectly healthy on that final drive when the game was clearly over.

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(HT Redonkulous Bear)

Berkelium97: When Chi Chi Ariguzo leaves the field with a supposed injury and receives no attention from the medical staff/trainers once he gets to the sideline, you have to wonder about the validity of this injury. When it happens multiple times? SUSPICIOUS. Damien Proby didn't look too injured when he came back onto the field at seemingly full strength.

If the Wildcats are going to pull this nonsense, at least have a trainer stretch out a player's legs so it looks like they're trying to alleviate some cramps.

Pat Fitzgerald addressed the injury issue postgame

“So that’s all I say. Our guys get dinged up. They get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. You’ve never walked in and heard me say that ever, have you? I have a hard time with that. But if our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down not hobble of to the sideline.”

Northwestern players are apparently instructed to go down after injury and avoid hobbling to the sideline.  What's odd, however, is that Kain Colter--someone who was actually injured--did not go down and instead hobbled to the sideline.  It's interesting that someone on offense didn't go out of his way to stop the game when injured...

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Vlad Belo: I'm not that incensed about the fake injuries. Is it bad for the integrity of the game? Yeah, it is. But I think it's just a reality we have to get used to. Unless and until there is an effective way to police the injury faking, we just have to live with it.

Why else am I not too mad about it? Because what goes around comes around and Tosh Lupoi embarrassed us 3 years ago with that unsportsmanlike bit of gamesmanship. It wasn't right then and it wasn't right on Saturday night, but perhaps in the grand scheme of karma we got a little bit of what we had coming.

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Ruey Yen: I think there will be some rule change on this in the near future (this coming offseason), but given it is not totally illegal, I am willing to let exaggerating injuries to slow down the opposing offense pass as a gamemanship thing.

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LeonPowe: I remarked to Golden Oso and The Federer Express last night that we've become Oregon. The shoe is on the other foot now! Well if we can attain Oregon levels of success, I'm ok with that. (Without the bad behavior, please) also, Cal fans have never really been a classy fanbase. Have you ever walked down frat row after a game? Last night there was almost a fight in our section (and a woman was driven to tears) because she wouldn't take off her red shirt. While I completely blame her and her companions for allowing her to sit in the student overflow section with a red shirt, it was kind of ugly both ways. We should just own it. So yeah, I'm ok with this development.

Oh the cramps? Fishy fishy fishy fishy.

atomsareenough: Totally foul. You know, I defended our guys after we did it against Oregon because of course I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.I'm sure Northwestern fans/alums are feeling the same way today. But then I saw the pretty obvious video replay of Tipoti or whoever it was looking to the sideline and then going down, which made me think maybe it was on purpose, and then the team straight up admitted it and suspended Tosh and never did it again. So, it was an embarrassment to our school and our program, and I feel bad that we did it, and having gone through it, we've definitely gone full circle now. We made a mistake, did something we're not supposed to do, fessed up about it, punished the coach responsible, and stopped doing it. And now it's happened to us. I'd hope that's a good example to other teams who feel tempted to fake injuries, and that teams stop doing it. It's a desperate and underhanded tactic, and it's completely unethical. In fact, I saw an article the other day about the impact of these uptempo offenses, and apparently there's a line in the rulebook about faking injuries:

The football rules book reads: "Feigning an injury for any reason is unethical. An injured player must be given full protection under the rules, but feigning injury is dishonest, unsportsmanlike, and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity."

So there you go. Apparently it says straight up that "such tactics cannot be tolerated". I hope that means we'll see something change to prevent it if it becomes a trend. Maybe players that collapse on the field of play and need to be tended to by the training staff should have to sit out the remainder of the possession or the remainder of the quarter. That should cut down on it at least somewhat. Of course then probably we'll see some enterprising coach put in his 4th string backup for a play, have him fall over, and then not really miss him. Anyway, I believe there's a bit of a shaming campaign taking place on Twitter, and I fully support that. At the very least if the coach knows he's going to be called out and embarrassed by it, maybe that will make him think twice.

Yellow Fever: Seems like foul to me. Watching the broadcast on ESPN2 I'm only moderately amazed that the announcers didn't bring up Tosh Lupoi, Oregon, and Aaron Tipoti once. I guess they couldn't be bothered to go into any backstory on anything like that. Well, not even the announcers. It seems like no one working for ESPN clued them in either. Would have provided some helpful context, but oh well.

They were also making a big deal out of how Pat Fitzgerald said their tempo in practice was twice as fast as game speed. I wonder if that just means they fake injuries twice as often.

Charley Lu: Sonny's face showed it all. The frustration felt strange though since we were on the Ducks' side of the Oregon-Tosh debacle. I can't wait for the fourth game of the season. We might get a basketball score at the end of the game.

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(Thanks to Redonkulous Bear, minesweeper, TwistNHook, and TheScientist109 for finding the images!)

verytech: To keep it short and sweet: "fair" by the "letter" of the rules, but "foul" by the "spirit" [of honest competition]. It helps Cal's cause that the new "injurygate" turned into a national story overnight. If anything, it seems like Northwestern is losing in the court of public opinion [and in CFB, perception matters]. I think these tweets kind of sum up how most Cal fans feel (HT to our CGB commenters for the cat gif & the post-game handshake screencap):

ragnarok: I'm extremely suspicious of some of those "injuries", although I don't feel like Cal has a moral high ground to stand on at this point. Moreover, an injury would have to be really, obviously faked before I'd consider booing -- all the booing of suspicious-but-possibly-legitimate injuries the other night stuck me as rather classless. Cal fans should be better than that.

HydroTech: I'm learning towards foul. I think the players deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to injuries and their safety. If they're sort of dinged up and can't really get off the field on their own power, then I think they should just stay down and wait for the trainers to come. I believe this opinion is the opinion of the NCAA and most coaches who face high-speed teams. Nobody wants to a see player further injure himself because he is trying to get off the field on his own power before the high-speed offense runs another play. Unfortunately, taking this stance on the issue opens up the loophole and possibility for defensive players to feign injuries or exaggerate an actual injury.

By "exaggerate an actual injury", I mean that although the player could probably get off the field under his own power before the offense runs another play, he decides to give his buddies on defense a breather and just stays down on the field and plays up his injury to make it look worse than it really is. I am not sure if there is a way to reconcile these two diametrically opposite interests (the offense's ability to run plays as fast as they can/want vs. player safety). I think that Cal fans should prepare themselves to see a lot of "injuries" and injuries by opposing defensive players this season.

And although I know a lot of Cal fans probably think many of the injuries are actually "injuries", that they shouldn't boo the injured/"injured" player. Let's have some class. Some of the guys out there are legitimately getting injured. Remember when we played Oregon a couple years back and our guys were actually getting injured? The Oregon fans were booing our players, and we all threw a fit because we thought it was classless. Now the tables have turned, but we have a chance to be classy about it and not act like a douchebag Oregon fan.

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