Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, March 02, 2003

ESPN's Outside the Lines this morning was devoted entirely to Toni Smith. There were a few points of interest. A player from another school (St. Joseph's?) claimed that, after a game, she approached Toni and told her to leave the country, and Toni turned around to swing at her but was restrained by her teammates. Toni Smith, in a statement, seemed to deny that the incident happened. Also, video from a recent game showed Toni's boyfriend in a shouting match with other fans.

The show interviewed a few people, including OU coach Sherri Coale, and Tommy Smith, who raised a fist with a black glove in the 1968 Olympics as a sign of support for black power. Tommy Smith supported Toni's protest. Coach Coale disagreed: she said the forum was inappropriate, and that if a player on her team felt the need to make such a stance, she'd have to remain in the locker room.

Coach Coale's main point was that it was divisive for the team. "To disrespect the flag is to disrespect her teammates." One of Toni's teammates was interviewed and suggested that all the controversy had hurt the team. But it seems that most of the team, while disagreeing with Toni's view, supports her right to protest in this form. Both her coach and the Manhattanvillle college president have made statements of support.

Every school is different. Every team is different. Manhattanville is probably a different place than Oklahoma U. I think her own coach is probably in the best position to say what's best for his team...