Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, March 01, 2004

(Some day in the near future, the percentage of Mendiola-related stories on this blog will drop precipitously. But alas -- we're not there yet...)

Last week I posted this description of the Mendiola incident at the ASU game in Tempe. I obviously had no first-hand knowledge -- what I wrote was based entirely on Greg Bishop's piece in the Seattle Times.

An ASU fan wrote in today with this response:

Firstly, nobody in the student section "took a swing" at either of the Mendiolas. Secondly, it was one ASU student rather than a group of students that was making personal attacks at the sisters. I was unfortunately sitting next to the female fan who was yelling at the girls so I know what happened.

This has been blown out of proportion by UW fans and UW media and I find it unfortunate that the actions of one fan are giving ASU fans as a whole a bad reputation. We have some very good fans this year and I can only speak for myself and my friends who I go games with but we're very loud and we will do everything we can to heckle the other team - but we don't engage in any personal attacks like the garbage that happened at the Washington game.

I appreciate the clarification.

For my part, I should clarify that to me, the incident (at least from what I know of it) reflects as poorly on Giuliana as it does on any ASU fan. Regardless of inappropriate taunting, a basketball player shouldn't yell back, shouldn't give the finger, and should NEVER approach fans and engage in any sort of physical confrontation. If J.J. Redick had done something like that after the Maryland game, Coach K would have suspended him or kicked him off the team.

An ASU fan showed a total lack of class by taunting the Mendiolas based on their family's problems. But Giuli's post-game actions also showed a lack of class and a lack of control.

The Huskies, meanwhile, got blown out by Arizona in their final conference game with Gio on the bench suspended. They thus finished 9-9 for sixth place in the Pac 10.

After the game, Alicia Mendiola complained that Gio's suspension (one game for hitting an ASU player after Thursday's game) was too stiff. "She was harassed and abused, and yet is being made a scapegoat," said Alicia. "The school has been charged with a lack of control, and they are trying to show they have control by not letting my daughter play."

UPDATE: the ASU student who was punched by Mr. Mendiola at the Tempe game describes what happened:

While the team was walking down the tunnel, the girl next to me yelled something at the Mendiolas. I don't remember her comments at that moment but I can only imagine they were something about the family as it had been going on all night. The sisters yelled something back at her and a heated shouting match started. Then the sisters came running out of the tunnel at her and I got in the middle to prevent a fight. I put my hands up to hold them back and my exact words were "calm down".

That's when their dad came and punched me in the face. I was smart enough not to let the incident escalate any further but we were forced to stay after and talk to the police. I chose not to press charges.