Football season cannot come soon enough. Sure – one can tune into ESPN these days and watch baseball, golf, or NASCAR. But there’s nothing out there to help alleviate the built-up tension and aggression of sports fans like a good ol’ football game. Perhaps more importantly, though, it appears as if the players themselves need to get out on the field before they explode from all the built-up stress and testosterone.
During Tuesday’s scrimmage between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys, tensions came to a head as the day would see multiple scrums between the opposing sides.
The first brawl started after Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne tackled Raiders tight-end Mychal Rivera, in a no-tackle scrimmage, after he believed Rivera lowered his shoulder in an attempt to plow through.
Both teams quickly cleared the sidelines following the action between Claiborne and Rivera, though the players weren’t the only ones to get involved.
As the players were bunched-up along a fence on the sidelines, a Raiders fan leaned over the barricade to hit Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb first with his hands and then a replica helmet: ”It’s definitely a dangerous situation. I don’t know why fans would want to jump on this side of the fence. I don’t think they’d like it too much on this side.”
While there has been a lot of negative attention surrounding intrasquad skirmishes in the NFL lately, both the Raiders and the Cowboys seemed to view Tuesday’s brawls in a positive light.
Raider’s coach Dennis Allen chalked the scrums up as typical occurrences before commenting on the fantastic atmosphere the crowd provided: “That happens in a competitive environment, but I thought it was good work… What a hell of an atmosphere to practice football in. That’s what Raider Nation is really all about, man. That was awesome to see those guys come out and support us like that. It almost felt like, at times, that I had to quiet the crowd down just so we could get some plays off.”
Allen was also careful, though, to express his view that practice is not the place for fighting, however:
I don’t like the fights. I want to come out and practice football. We don’t have any time for that, and we certainly don’t want to get anybody injured in fisticuffs. I thought both teams came out and competed and got a lot of good work in.
Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, took his typical laissez-faire approach to the on-field violence, though, stating, “That passion, that’s mostly what I’d hoped what we would get out of getting these teams together.”
'Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys brawl during practice' Word is Tony Romo threw a punch, it was intercepted and run back for a touchdown
— Paul Lander (@paul_lander) August 13, 2014
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett echoed Jones’s sentiments, saying, “You have to as a player defend your teammate, get yourself in there and make sure he’s OK. Always have your guy’s back. That’s an important part of building a football team. At the same time, poise in that situation is important. I thought we demonstrated both and you kind of move on.”
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 13, 2014
However, with the recent news from NASCAR concerning the death of dirt-track racer Kevin Ward, Jr. following an on-track skirmish with professional driver Tony Stewart, perhaps the NFL and other sports organization should start taking these bursts of violence more seriously and not simply write it off as “men being men.”
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