Men’s basketball coach John Chaney suspended himself for the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament yesterday.
His announcement is the latest instance of Temple bending to the whims of Saint Joseph’s administration and coach Phil Martelli.
During the Tuesday, Feb. 22, game against St. Joe’s, Chaney became disgusted with the Hawks’ use of illegal screens and sent in center Nehemiah Ingram to rough up the opposing players. Ingram committed five fouls in four minutes, including a blow to St. Joe’s center John Bryant that left Bryant with a fractured forearm.
In the postgame press conference, Chaney called Ingram a “goon” and criticized the officials. Chaney apologizied and suspended himself for one game.
Although President David Adamany initially commended Chaney’s voluntary suspension, he released a statement Friday stating the coach would be suspended for the rest of the regular season.
It was a reactionary attempt to appease St. Joe’s demands for harsher punishment.
St. Joe’s administration heightened those demands over the weekend. Due to the extent of Bryant’s injury, Martelli claimed he would fear for his players’ safety at the A-10 banquet unless Chaney and Ingram were barred from attending. Chaney reiterated his apology on Monday and suspended himself from the conference tournament, once again standing as the lone Temple representative to take responsibility for the incident.
Chaney is taking a lot of heat nationally for events that were beyond his control. The A-10 conference code of conduct stipulates that the director of athletics is held responsible for inappropriate behavior by coaches, student-athletes and spectators.
But Chaney has shouldered the blame for every transgression.
Chaney has been held accountable for everything from Temple students spitting on Bryant to a lack of proactive measures taken by the University or the athletics department. Adamany’s and athletics director Bill Bradshaw’s names have been largely absent from calls for culpability.
If Saint Joseph’s University was as serious about player safety as it attests, it would have reigned in the team’s illegal screens when Chaney complained about them in a conference call Monday morning. If Temple were truly looking to uphold a positive image, it would have provided tighter security in the stands during the heated rivalry. If the A-10 were so concerned, it would have employed officials who might have actually called Ingram’s shot on Bryant a flagrant foul rather than a standard personal foul.
Representatives at St. Joe’s see these oversights by Temple as an opportunity to push Adamany and the administration to lengths beyond what is appropriate in this situation. But so many parties were so unvigilant going into last week’s game that Martelli and the Hawks realize they can take advantage of Chaney’s postgame comments and redirect the blame on to him. His behavior served as the most visible aspect of many negative judgments.
Temple University doesn’t want to lose face, and heaping the blame on John Chaney provides and easy way to do that while satisfying Saint Joseph’s demands. Let’s hope the University isn’t forced to bend so far that it breaks its connection with a Hall of Fame coach.