The great honor of playing the game of American football is knowing that you gave your best on any given day. You see the player across from you and give it your best. Most likely the guy on the other side is thinking the same thing. He’s just trying to make a play to help his team. It is against every ethos of all sports to see an opponent and want to harm that person.
The recent media coverage of Nihon University’s team and their despicable conduct could be the end of football in a country that has a small following as it is. Football is not a major sport in Japan. I’ve lived in Japan for many years, and this latest incident has garnered attention that no sport would welcome with open arms. This kind of bad press is certainly unwanted but deserves to be shared and discussed publicly.
It took too long for Nihon University coach Masato Uchida to call it quits. Perhaps he thought he could ride out the storm and the media would latch onto something else. But I’m glad that he realized the media would not let up. Quitting is the easy part. Accepting that his poor coaching and utterly repulsive behavior has done irreparable damage to football in Japan is something else. When universities and even high schools have a hard time recruiting new players, Uchida and his team purposefully spit on the game and made complete fools of themselves.
In the next coming months, I expect the entire football community in Japan to make an effort to show that they disavow conduct such as what we saw the defensive player display against Kwansei Gakuin University. It is just horrendous and unacceptable.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.