BREAKING NEWS: Spikes now suspended for entire Vandy game, punishment for Meyer?

By Adam Silverstein
November 4, 2009

After being suspended half a game by head coach Urban Meyer on Monday for reaching into the helmet of Georgia Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey on Saturday, Florida Gators senior linebacker Brandon Spikes decided to remove himself from the entire game this week against the Vanderbilt Commodores. According to Meyer, Spikes sat down with him and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong on Tuesday night and expressed that he thought it would be best for the team if he sat the entire game. The threesome came to a group decision on a full-game suspension.

“I really don’t want to be a distraction to the team,” Spikes told reporters in a brief statement. “I want the guys to prepare without any negative things going on, and I feel like if I would play it would be a big thing. I’m just trying to stay out of the way and just motivate the guys and I’m pretty sure that [Ryan] Stamper’s got my back and my teammates support me my decision.”

Spikes and Meyer have both received heavy criticism this week. Spikes for his maneuver and Meyer for supposedly dealing out a “soft” punishment (one which was agreed upon by the Southeastern Conference). Whether or not you believe what Spikes did was “dirty” or that Meyer’s punishment was lenient, you must respect the player for stepping up, taking the pressure off the team and owning up to his mistake for a second time.

“A lot of the negative things out there are really weighing heavy on his heart,” Meyer said. “[Spikes sitting the entire game is] a group decision and we’re doing it out of respect for our team so we can focus on trying to win our ninth game. We think it’s the right thing to do and we support Brandon for it. We look forward to him getting back and finishing the season the right way.”

As for Meyer, he is now subject to a potential fine or suspension after commenting about a missed personal foul call on a cheap shot thrown by linebacker Nick Williams on quarterback Tim Tebow. “I don’t want to step out of line, (but) there should have been a penalty, in my opinion,” Meyer said. “You have to protect quarterbacks, that’s the whole purpose. It’s right in front of the referee. I’m not sure how they’re going to handle that, but we do send it in and that was one of the plays we did send in.”

Meyer and the Gators staff sent in tape of the play for the SEC to review, but his comments came one week after commissioner Mike Slive laid down the hammer on coaches criticizing conference officials. What Meyer said in this regard was more of a “comment” than a “criticism,” as he was directly responding to a posed question and made it a point to say he had “great respect” for officials both before and after making the statement. Nevertheless, ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low (who spoke with conference officials) believes some type of punishment is coming for Meyer.

OGGOA will have more on these stories as information is made available.

10 Comments

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  2. Brittany says:

    I t hink this is the right decision and bravo to Spikes for stepping up. As far as Coach Meyer getting punished, that’s ridiculous. What he said is not on par with what Kiffin and Mullen said.

  3. jena starr says:

    Think its a freaking smart move. Spikes still recovering from groin injury. Its vandy!! And it looks really great for his sportsmanship. Good call!

  4. I tend to agree with you two, but at the same time feel this whole situation was reactionary. The media reacted to the fans. Meyer reacted to the media. The fans reacted to Meyer. The media reacted to the fans. And Meyer reacted to the media.

    Truthfully, Spikes never would have been punished if “Gator Haters” were not trying to find something to pin on Florida. What he did was not right by any means, but it happens all the time and goes unpunished more often than not. The Gators were faced with a PR mess and had to give him some form of punishment.

    What draws my ire even more is what is happening with Meyer and the innocent comments he made about the play he sent in to the SEC for review. Anyone drawing comparisons to that and what Kiffin and other coaches have said in recent weeks is simply absurd.

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. Brittany says:

    Adam, I agree that this is also reactionary. I think it’s half and half, as in Spikes saw the heat that Meyer and the team were getting and he decided to sit out the entire game. And I agree with you about the Meyer situation. Gator Haters have come out in full force to try and smackdown Meyer, which is INSANE. He did nothing wrong and if he is fined (I think a suspension is out of the question) then it’s a weak move by the SEC.

  6. Kaity says:

    It’s not fair to punish Meyer since he was responding to a question. If he hadn’t of said that it should be a penalty, he’d be lying! Even the CBS commentators said it was a blatant penalty. He was commenting with respect, you can’t penalize him for that!

  7. BDoc says:

    The comparisons are absurd, but people are looking for any reason to pile on the Gators at this point in time. I don’t think that those complaining about Meyer’s comments realize that Mike Slive was trying to put an end to any SEC coach inferring that the referees were making/missing specific calls so that Florida and Alabama would face off in the SECCG.

    As for the lengthening of Spikes’ suspension, I really think this is going to be the rallying point for the rest of the season. Sort of a way for the entire team to come together from here on out with an “us against the world” mindset.

  8. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    This is best….mostly because Brandon needs to get healthy….you could argue it would have been better if Meyer had just suspended him for the entire game initially but I don’t think it would have silenced the critics….when your on top and the favorites to win 3 out 4 NC’s you will draw the haters….it’s like the arrest stats will not die as long as we are winning

  9. Chris C. says:

    Guy punishes himself. What a joke!

  10. Gatorfan33 says:

    Look, Brandon needs to get healthy so I would have told him that we were going to sit him for Vandy, SC and Fl Intern. He gets healthy, call it a punishment, get him back for FSU, Bama and the NC game. Tell the media we sat him for 3 games and be done with this whole thing. I guess if your not hated then you are not a good team. LOL

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