Back on July 31, Southern Cal cornerback T.J. Bryant was briefly hospitalized with a fractured cheekbone after he got in a fight with starting fullback Stanley Havili during practice. On Friday, new coach Lane Kiffin took a bold stance against players breaking their teammates' faces and suspended Havili indefinitely.
That lasted all of one day, as Kiffin reinstated Havili last night. While the immediate reaction to that news would be to deride Kiffin as being tone deaf to the situation yet again ("typical Kiffin hur hur hur," etc.), that doesn't seem to be the case here; if anything, Kiffin's being too sensitive to his players' concerns. Case in point: despite his injury, Bryant was actually instrumental in getting Havili's suspension lifted.
Havili returned to the team after Trojans coach Lane Kiffin suspended the senior fullback Friday for fracturing Bryant’s left cheekbone during a pre-training camp conditioning drill. Bryant also appeared for the first time since the story broke Thursday, although the junior cornerback remains unable to practice.
Kiffin decided to reinstate Havili after several players – including Bryant – approached him and asked that Havili be allowed to return.
"Nobody needs to miss practice," Bryant said. "We were both at fault. We both just made a bad decision.
"The team needs him. The team needs everybody. … Somebody sitting at home, to me, that doesn’t make sense."
It's a selfless gesture on Bryant's part, to be sure, and having as many players at practice as possible is, indeed, ideal.
But punishment should be an effective detriment to negative behavior, and capitulating to player requests to reinstate a teammate is brought to you by the letters S, O, F, and T. Will anybody on the Trojans truly be afraid of breaking team rules after Havili only had to spend a day in time-out?