Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hines Ward Gets Lit Up, Defenses Rejoice

A picture is truly worth 1,000 words.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was leveled by Tennessee Titans defensive back Courtland Finnegan in the Titans' 31-14 victory Sunday in Nashville.

Ward who is one of the most intense, hardest working and physical players in the NFL also has a reputation of being one of the dirtiest. He is, by far, the best blocking wide receiver in the league but his propensity to specialize in the clean, blind side hit often draws the ire of opposing defenders. So much so the Baltimore Ravens allegedly (they did) put out a bounty of him for their second contest of the season.

While Ward is a great receiver and excellent role model off the field, some of his action on it are questionable. While he may not be the team distraction like Terrell Owens or Randy Moss have been or even a "look at me" player like Chad Johnson or LenDale White, Ward does do something that is just as classless. He taunts.

It is often hidden or dismissed because of the giant smile that is always on his face, but his disrespect for opposing teams and players is a reality. Whether celebrating the clean hit that broke the jaw of Cincinnati Bengals' linebacker Keith Rivers or any other hit he connects on the taunting is there.

He has mocked Ray Lewis' entrance dance after scoring a touchdown against the Ravens. He has mocked the "Fly Eagles Fly" fight song of Philadelphia after scoring in the city of Brotherly Love. He has wiped his feet like a dog in the direction of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland.

He may be a great player but please don't let that shroud the fact that he is also one who shows no sportsmanship.

So for one play, he got what was coming to him. Hopefully there will be many more to follow. Then may his taunting and unsportsmanlike antics will finally cease.

No comments: