Postgame handshake line claims another set of victims after Michigan coach Juwan Howard slaps Wisconsin coach!

Michigan coach Juwan Howard yelled and slapped a Wisconsin assistant coach during a theatrical sham designed to show calm refinement immediately after intense competition.

Can we finally end the postgame handshake line ritual?

There is no more hollow and meaningless gesture in sports, and today it caused a brawl after Wisconsin beat Michigan 77-63.  During the this charade of sportsmanship, Juwan Howard expressed his displeasure with Wisconsin coach Greg Gard for calling timeout with :15 left.

There was some verbal unpleasantness, and then Howard swung an open hand at Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft, connecting with the side of his head.  More punches were thrown in an episode that could easily have been avoided with a few minutes to calm down before the team might finally shake hands outside the locker rooms instead of immediately following the game.

But there aren’t any fans or cameras in the bowels of the various arenas and gyms where basketball is played, so audience-less scenes of sportsmanship would be wasted.

Yes, adults should have been adults and avoided this nonsensical minimally violent incident, but if not for high schools and colleges who demand public displays of affection seconds after players and coaches try to beat the hell out of each other, the opportunity for this fracas would never occur.

For those who believe this doesn’t happen very often, It happened to my New Albany High School soccer team against Trinity, my wife’s Bishop Noll High School basketball team against Gary Roosevelt, and my son’s Cathedral High School basketball team against Arlington.  That’s three-for-three in the Sterling Family – shockingly none of us were the cause.

It would be great if there existed an administrator with the guts to ends this foolishness instead of blaming the players and coaches for being human enough to act on their hot tempers when they are at their peak.

It’s not that I’m against sportsmanship.  I’m not.  I’m against fights, and the handshake line is the cause of way too many fights.

Handshake lines will continue because administrators just love to sit in pious judgment of those who compete.  So Howard and others will certainly be suspended as a disincentive to fight instead of the permanent and logical correction of halting the idiocy of hollow handshakes.

4 thoughts on “Postgame handshake line claims another set of victims after Michigan coach Juwan Howard slaps Wisconsin coach!

  1. Terry Johnson

    I agree 100 percent ! There’s no need for post game hand shakes at this level . All this display did is put a embarrassing light on the Big 10 and all of it’s members ! Not to mention all the media over kill !!! And the embarrassing behavior for the players by their coaches who are supposed to be leaders and roll models. Never should have happened!

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      It is so avoidable. This is especially true in high school. Kids don’t yet know how to react to heartbreak or what they perceive to be unfairness – especially in front of a couple thousand people. For those who want kids to learn from shaking hands, some of them are going back to areas of the city where people are killed for showing disrespect. Handshakes don’t mean a hell of a lot to them.

  2. Keith Zeller

    I disagree 100 percent ! Handshake line is an important lesson for these kids (and apparently for the adults too). “Being human enough to act on their hot tempers” is no excuse whatsoever. Do you realize that if little-baby-man Juwan Howard did what he did in a parking lot after someone took ‘his’ parking space, that he could be going to JAIL? If Juwan Howard wasn’t famous, if this happened outside of a bar instead of in a sports arena, if the guy getting hit falls and hits his head, if there weren’t 8 people jumping between them to break up the fight… – Then Juwan Howard could be in a police station being charged as a felon right now, he could be permanently losing his job right now, he could be losing custody of his kids right now. Society has 0 tolerance for violence, whether you have a ‘hot temper’ or not. Learning how to control your temper and still behave civilly (with sportsmanship) is EXACTLY the kind of thing these sports programs PRETEND to teach kids and young adults. Why do you want to take away the MOST meaningful life skill that sports can give to people?

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Let me be more clear – the handshake line needs to be replaced, not eliminated. Sportsmanship is important, but moments after the end of the game is the wrong time to demand a level of maturity from students. After showering and cooling off, bring the kids together.


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