Dunlap: Worry About Your Team

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – We just can’t mind our own damn business.

Really, we can’t.

Sports — like life — would be so much better if we could.

Last weekend James Franklin at Penn State caused quite the ruckus — for some reason. You know the story by now, Penn State was blowing out Tomato Can Rent-A-Victim State in the final minute and the coach for Tomato Can Rent-A-Victim State decided to try a field goal to break the lopsided shutout.

Franklin iced the kicker.

Tomato Can Rent-A-Victim State’s kicker ended up missing the field goal.

Oh the humanity! Now someone needs to be a victim!

Franklin yammered something about the decision being rooted in the wrong personnel being on the field, which was hogwash. He knows, as well as I do, that he wanted to preserve the shutout — which isn’t at all hogwash and the truth I believe.

But I’m still failing to understand why this is a story.

I’m failing to understand why running up the score is a story in any game in any sport.

I’m failing to understand why stealing a base late in a game with a sizable lead is a story in baseball.

I’m failing to understand why putting on a defensive, full-court press with a big lead is a story in basketball.

I’m failing to understand why anyone gives one heck about any of these unwritten rules in sports once sports elevates past that youth “fun” stage and into a stage where it is big business or competition trumps fun.

You know the credo I subscribe to? You worry about your team and I will worry about my team.

Yep, it is as simple as that, to be honest.

Mind your own business, play your game and I will play mine.

I will do what I want to do as a player or coach until the end of the game and you do what you want to do. If I elect — as a coach — to call off the dogs in a lopsided game, that is my choice. If I don’t and choose instead to do something like ice a kicker with a 56-point lead, why should I be looked at any differently?

Again, you worry about your business and I’ll worry about mine.

While opponents intersect, the business of the two teams really don’t — or at least shouldn’t during a game.

But that’s why we are here, that’s why there has been some scuttlebutt about Franklin’s actions this week — because for some reason sports is a realm where people just can’t carry on and go about their business without the fear of someone being offended.

What James Franklin did wasn’t wrong in my book.

What James Franklin did wasn’t unsportsmanlike or disgraceful.

What James Franklin did was coach his team the way he wanted.

Again, his team.

Sports — once it reaches a competitive level — would function best if everyone did that and just minded their business and never worried about what the other team was doing in that regard.

When questioned, Franklin, and any other coach faced with questions in a similar matter should simply respond, “you worry about your team and I’ll worry about mine.”

That would be best.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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