The troubling issue of teammates fighting teammates

Percy Harvin is a dynamic football talent. He has blistering speed, excellent hands and is a versatile game-breaking player. That sounds like a pretty good package to have in an athlete right?

It definitely is, but there was one outstanding issue that forced the reigning Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks to pull off a quick and surprising trade that sent the talented wide receiver to the woeful New York Jets. Harvin has off-field issues, specifically fighting with his teammates.

It was confirmed that last year Harvin got into an altercation with then teammate Golden Tate, now a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions. The fight began in a meeting room and finished in the locker room. Tate ended up with a black eye.

And then this season Harvin got in a scrap with another receiver on his team, Doug Baldwin. Both players were told to stay away from practice for that week.

It is a troubling picture for a pro sports team. Your teammates are like your family. You bond together, win together and endure hardships together.  You should never, under any circumstances get in a fight with a teammate.

For one, both players could get hurt, which would then hurt the team overall the next time they play. It also hurts the reputations of the players involved and could lead to a black eye or media firestorm if the incidents were to come to light.

Over the years there have been many memorable incidents of teammates fighting each other.  Years ago at Flyers training camp, Keith Primeau and Chris McAllister dropped the gloves and fought. McAllister ended up having his nose broken by a punch in the bout.

Two interesting things about this fight? There were no repercussions for either player after the affair was over, and this fight took place in training camp. The coach at the time, Ken Hitchcock, only wanted tough players who could make a statement. It may have been unorthodox, but he got exactly that with Primeau.

Another famous fight involved NBA legend Michael Jordan and his teammate at the time, Steve Kerr. They had differing viewpoints on issues around the NBA at the time and didn’t always get along. To make matters worse they often guarded each other in practice, which allowed the anger to build over time. It all finally came apart during a scrimmage in practice, when after a brief round of pushing, Kerr started swinging for the fences.

Kerr ended up with a black eye after the fight. There was no punishment for either player after the fact. Jordan actually left a message on his answering machine telling him how sorry he was. Both players had no further problems with each other for the rest of their careers.

If you ask me, it’s unacceptable to fight a teammate. I don’t care if tempers flare in practice or during a game. Players need to keep a cool head and save all that fire and intensity for their opponents.

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