A tip of the cap to KU's Jamari Traylor for role in Monday night's court-storming fiasco at K-State
Lost, at least to some, in the aftermath of K-State's latest court-storming frenzy and all of the opinions and hot takes that followed it, was the admirable restraint shown by Kansas University forward Jamari Traylor.
I like Traylor. He's a friendly guy who has his limitations as a basketball player but also genuinely seems to be trying his best whenever he's on the floor.
All of that said, my respect for the Chicago junior sky-rocketed Monday night, after watching him get unnecessarily bumped and blindsided by a Kansas State fan who rushed the floor. Rather than adding a horrendous layer of nastiness to an already ugly scene, Traylor acted with intelligence.
Judging by the photograph captured by Journal-World photographer Nick Krug — which Kansas State police used to help successfully identify and find the young man who I can only assume is a K-State student — I'm guessing that the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Traylor had at least 4 or 5 inches and 50 or so pounds on the guy.
Add to that the fact that Traylor is a finely tuned, ripped Div. I athlete and the K-State student is, well, not, and it's easy to conclude that if Traylor had felt like it — or even if he simply had been in a frame of mind to react and retaliate without thinking — he could have sent the young man to the hospital in a matter of seconds.
But he didn't. After initially reacting the way any of us would've — with shock, anger and frustration over something he never saw coming — Traylor walked away and did nothing.
I'll admit my surprise. Traylor is an emotional dude and an even more emotional player and it's easy to envision a scenario in which he might have taken the other path and created an even greater mess. That's especially easy to do when you consider the fact that the incident took place mere moments after a tough loss to a heated, in-state rival.
As for the incident as a whole, I don't have much to say about it other than to point out the obvious that the situation needs to be fixed.
Players and coaches from visiting teams cannot continue to be put in harm's way — no matter how serious the threat — when home fans storm the floor to celebrate an emotionally charged upset. It's a recipe for disaster and one that hopefully will be addressed and taken care of up front before someone unable to control himself the way Traylor was goes crazy and injures someone in response to the storming.
I'm certainly not condoning it, but you'd be hard pressed to find me passing judgment on any athlete who reacted negatively when put in a situation like the one Traylor was in. Sure, you'd like to think that all athletes could see the bigger picture, realize it's just a game, just walk away and all of those other buzz phrases that sound good, but in the heat of the moment that's not so easy to do and Traylor deserves a ton of credit for handling it the right way instead of making things worse.
8:34 p.m. Update:
In related news, the young man who bumped Traylor came forward with an apology letter in the K-State Collegian.