Let's discuss unfair play from Nichidai

This week’s featured article


The head coach of Nihon University’s American football team said he will quit after he apologized to a Kwansei Gakuin University player on May 19 over a controversial play.

Speaking to reporters at Osaka’s Itami airport, Masato Uchida said he would resign to take responsibility for a play in an exhibition game on May 6 in which one of his players tackled Kwansei Gakuin’s quarterback from behind long after he had released the ball.

A video of the play went viral in Japan and a number of schools have subsequently canceled games against Nihon University, which is known as Nichidai.

“The responsibility for this series of problems lies directly on my shoulders. I will resign as head coach,” Uchida said. “I am quitting for the sake of the young players. We must create a new Nichidai.

“After the incident, I did not warn my players and that is my responsibility. It was my poor judgment.”

According to a Nihon University source, Uchida met with the injured player and his guardians in Hyogo Prefecture, outside Osaka. Kwansei Gakuin head coach Hideaki Toriuchi and team director Hiromu Ono were also present and accepted Uchida’s apology.

Uchida had denied allegations that he had ordered players to play dirty, but Kwansei Gakuin on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the denial. Kwansei Gakuin and Nichidai have long been archrivals. Ono said Thursday the relationship was broken in seconds.

As a result of the cheap shot, the Kwansei Gakuin quarterback sustained ligament damage in his spine that will take three weeks to heal, but no nerve damage. His school said he will be cleared to practice once the pain recedes.

The incident drew a harsh backlash across the country, prompting the government’s Japan Sports Agency to launch an inquiry. On May 14, three Tokyo schools called off games against Nichidai. Three days later, the Kantoh Collegiate Football Association announced that Nichidai’s games against Seikei and Meiji universities had been canceled.

First published in The Japan Times on May 20.

Warm up

One-minute chat about unfair incidents.


Collect words related to American football, e.g., field, team, power.

New words

1) subsequently: later on, e.g., “He subsequently moved to Europe.”

2) allegation: accusation, e.g., “This evidence proves the allegation.”

3) archrival: the biggest rival, e.g., “The Giants and Tigers are archrivals.”

Guess the headline

Nihon University c_ _ _ _ Masato Uchida q_ _ _s over controversial play


1) What happened during the May 6 game?

2) What did Mr. Uchida apologize for?

3) What is happening to the Nihon University team now?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you play a sport?

2) What are your thoughts on this issue?

3) What do you think needs to be done to ensure fair play in sports?





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