Oh, sports and politics. You mix together like champagne and sh*t. The latest incident of a politician addressing sports for no discernible reason comes from the House Judiciary Committee, which is addressing the rising evidence of destructive brain trauma in football. That much is okay. Calling out a specific football player, though, come on.
That’s USC All-Universe safety Taylor Mays, whose speed (4.35) and heft (230+ lbs.) make him one of the most violent hitters in recent college football memory. He makes Bob Sanders look like Summer Sanders. He also has a reputation for unclean hits of the helmet-to-helmet variety, one that’s not entirely undeserved. But he’s not exceptionally dirty, so why would a House Representative - from California, of all states - call Mays out as a “headhunter”?
Oh, did we mention the Congressman in question, Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) is a Notre Dame alumnus? Would that help?
From the LOS ANGELES TIMES:
Lungren, a Notre Dame graduate, first talked about former Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum setting the bar for hits designed to injure.
He then complained about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow being rushed back from a concussion before finally getting to Mays.
The congressman didn’t identify the two-time All-American by name, but said that while attending a Notre Dame game a couple of weeks ago he “saw a headhunter on the field” tear the helmet off a player.
Lungren was referring to Mays’ fourth-quarter hit on Notre Dame receiver Robby Parris, who lost his helmet on the play. Lungren said that no penalty was called on the play, but Mays was actually flagged for a personal foul.
Lungren’s probably a bit confused on this one;the hit he’s referring to sounds a lot more like the one he mentioned next, where a Pac-10 official was suspended for not flagging Mays on a hit that ended with Oregon State’s James Rodgers without a helmet. That hit was dirty.
The one on Parris, though, was a little tougher to call. Obviously, as a Notre Dame fan, Lungren’s going to see it as Mays rushing in well after the play was dead, spearing Parris in the head, spitting on him, robbing him at gunpoint, then sodomizing him with a fluorescent bulb, all while using rap lyrics with profanity because Mays hates Jesus. Like we said, he’s a Notre Dame fan.
But the actual hit was more bang-bang, there was no contact between Mays’ hands and Parris’ helmet - i.e., no intent to remove Parris’ headgear from his person - or otherwise commit a foul. We raised an eyebrow at the “defenseless receiver” call at the time, and wondered if Mays were worse at football whether it’d still get called.
All of which is to say, griping about your favorite team should be so far down on a Congressman’s list of priorities - even if it’s tangentially relevant to the topic at hand - that it shouldn’t be worth his or her time. Doubly so if, as with Lungren, you can’t even get the details right. It’s a distraction from the topic at hand.
At least Mays kept a sense of humor about it:
When informed of Lungren’s comments, Mays reiterated that he was not out to injure other players. He also wondered aloud if he might hear from the White House next.
“Maybe [President] Obama will give me a call,” he said, chuckling. “I don’t have any bad intentions. I don’t know how it could get that far but that’s just the reality of the situation.”