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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Even 'Saint Paul' is human

In the March 6 match up between No. 3 Wake Forest and N.C. State, plenty of shots were taken. Most were aimed at the basket with varying degrees of success. But the story of the game wasn't about a basketball shot. It was Wake's sophomore point guard Chris Paul giving N.C. State forward Julius Hodge a "shot" to the groin during the first half that left Hodge on the hardwood wincing in pain.\nPaul was promptly suspended for one game by the University. But what exactly was Paul's motivation? Hodge never hard-fouled Paul at any point prior to the altercation. \nThe best guess anyone can come up with is Paul simply was fed up with fans razzing him, and he vented his frustration on Hodge's manhood. A story in the Richmond-Times Dispatch earlier this week claims that two reporters overheard N.C. State fans yelling "Chris Paul, I killed your grandpa," during the game. This, of course, is in reference to the 2002 death of Paul's grandfather, who was beaten to death.\nI see no problem with fans hounding opposing team's players. It's one of the best parts of attending a game, and getting inside a player's head can give your team an advantage. But where do we draw the line between good fun and poor taste? \nSometimes fans seem to forget that the athletes they see on ESPN and on the court are actually human beings just like them. They have emotions and feelings. To attack the death of a player's family member is not only uncalled for, it's cowardly. While the replay of Paul's punch will continue to be shown on TV, and hundreds upon hundreds of newspapers have already run stories about it, the fans' antics have been mentioned much more sparingly in the media. You'll never hear or see the names of these student fans, which makes it easier for those in the stands to yell anything and everything, knowing there are no consequences for their actions.\nOther instances of fans crossing the line have popped up around college basketball this season and last. Maryland fans got their hands on No. 5 Duke's J.J. Redick's cell phone number and barraged him with phone calls earlier this season. During a Maryland-Duke match up last year, a Maryland fan held up a sign that read, "I banged Abbey Redick (yeah J.J.'s sister)." Oh, by the way -- she's 12!\nFans have yelled "rapist" at Iowa's Pierre Pierce and held up signs stating "James On Drugs" or "James On Probation" in reference to Oklahoma State's Jameson Curry's drug arrest during his senior year in high school.\nYeah, these fans are just being passionate about their university and the teams and players they worship. But they should use their enthusiasm in a more constructive manner. Chant "air ball," boo or yell "you suck," but keep the attacks on the personal lives to a minimum.\nBut in the end, a good athlete should be able to rise above the hecklers and focus on putting the ball in the hole. And with just a few ticks left on the clock, Paul faded away and swooshed a 12-footer at the buzzer to give the Demon Deacons a two-point win. \nFor a time, the N.C. State fans were silenced.

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