March 23, 2016 by Charlie Eisenhood in Livewire with 88 comments
It was a perfect storm: An unspirited play. Video of the incident. A high profile player from UNC Wilmington involved. An unusual infraction.
The fury of the internet poured out onto Xavier Maxstadt and Grayson Sanner on Monday after a hawk-eyed Redditor caught video of Maxstadt telling Sanner to fake an injury.
There’s no question that this is a terrible look for the players involved, especially Maxstadt, who absolutely knows better. Judging from their comments, they are embarrassed, as they should be. It’s especially bad, as a leader of the team, to tell a younger player on the team to intentionally break the rules.
That said, the backlash to this incident seems wildly disproportionate to the act itself. One commenter even suggested that the players be banned from the postseason. What?
This was a bad play. But I hate to break it to you: players from teams across the country make similarly bad plays all the time, on camera and off. Fake injuries happen all the time. UNC Wilmington has earned themselves a reputation, for sure, but the response to this play has been well beyond reasonable.
Ask yourself: is faking an injury really worse than this play, from the point prior, where Pitt freshman Mike Ing wraps up UNCW’s Austin McGrayne to prevent an easy scoring throw?
Is faking an injury worse than laying out through somebody’s legs with high injury potential?
People seem a lot more tolerant of some equally bad — or even worse! — infractions. I confirmed with Mitch Dengler, National Observer Director, that if an observer was certain that a player was faking an injury, it would warrant a PMF (basically a yellow card). Has ultimate ever been this worked up over a single PMF-worthy play?
This does not give UNC Wilmington a free pass. They should absolutely be held accountable for rule violations, as should every team. They have clearly taken their lumps for this one.
But take a moment to think about whether you would feel the same way if you saw your favorite team pull a similar stunt.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Xavier Maxstadt is a captain of UNC Wilmington.