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Ice Cold Takes

Jay Bilas just dropped the mother of all bad takes on the Buddy Boeheim punch

March 10, 2022

For context, Syracuse senior Buddy Boeheim, son of head coach Jim Boeheim, straight up sucker punched a dude Wednesday in the ACC tournament, and the intent was not at all ambiguous. Watch:

Personally, I'm not going to go crazy condemning Boeheim here. It's a bad look, but things happen in the heat of battle, he apologized, and I don't think this makes him a terrible person or anything like that. But the ACC reviewed the play and suspended him for a game, which is the most obvious penalty of all-time. Of course you have to suspend him. This sucks for Boeheim, because Syracuse plays Duke Thursday afternoon, they'll probably lose, and that will be it for his career since Syracuse isn't going to the Big Dance. Sucks, but that's life. There's simply no way the ACC could review that play and not suspend him. And no reasonable human could disagree.

Enter Jay Bilas.

This video really has to be seen to be believed, and while I hate to expose you to 107 seconds of this frankly rancid take, there's simply no way around it. Brace yourself: 

Before we start spinning on the floor in a fit of delirium—probably the only appropriate action here—let's try to distill Bilas' argument into a few key points.

1. The ACC's punishment "didn't fit the crime."

2. Because the refs missed the play, and couldn't review it by rule, that should be "final." It's just like a charge/block call, or stepping out of bounds! Once the game's over, there's no going back. It "goes against the rules of play."

Let's turn our critical brains off for a moment, ignore how stupid this is, and just look at Bilas' logic for point two. Is it true that the ACC can't or shouldn't go back and review a physical altercation if the refs didn't see it in real time?

Here's what the NCAA rule book says, regarding fights:

The following apply to situations in which a fight has been reported by an official during his jurisdiction. When a fight is not reported by an official, the conference or assigning authority may invoke its own penalty. For the rules on suspensions for fighting. (See Rule 10-5)

So there you go! Even the technicalities Bilas trots out in defense of his argument are complete nonsense that are clearly contradicted by the rulebook.

But let's now reactivate the logical centers of our brains and ask this: How wildly ridiculous is it to say that if a basketball player punches another basketball player, he shouldn't be punished if nobody sees it the first time????

BUDDY BOEHEIM PUNCHED A DUDE! IT WAS OBVIOUS! AND YES, OF $*(%&U#$ COURSE HE SHOULD BE SUSPENDED!

That video from Bilas is mind-boggling in its sheer ignorance and flawed logic, and I have a feeling I'm going to be thinking about it for a long, long time. It's possible, as someone on Twitter suggested, that Jim Boeheim was just off camera holding a gun to Bilas' head in a hostage video situation. It's also possible that Bilas' relationship with Boeheim (the two are reportedly friendly) is obscuring his judgment here. That's probably less likely than the hostage video theory, but it's worth mentioning. Whatever the case, I just can't fathom a reality in which one of the sport's most prominent commentators makes a serious argument that a one-game suspension for an intentional punch is "excessive," and backs it up with the logic that since nobody saw it the first time, welp, too bad, you gotta let it go.

All we can hope for now is that the ACC or the NCAA or ESPN whoever recognizes that getting confronted with this take is the metaphorical equivalent of a punch to the solar plexus, and takes appropriate action. A one-take suspension should do nicely.