On Wednesday morning, we passed along the story of Halil Kanacevic, the Saint Joseph's forward who, during Villanova's Tuesday night Holy War win, decided it was a good idea to flash dual middle fingers at Villanova fans after a made 3 -- his lone bucket of the game.
This was not a good decision, for a variety of reasons. For starters, it's not nice to flip the bird. Moms everywhere disapprove. But basketball-wise, Kanacevic's move preceded a timeout which preceded a 6-0 run by Villanova, all of which preceded Kanacevic's missed free throws and game-killing turnover down the stretch of a very winnable game.
So, yeah. Bad idea.
Turns out, St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli and athletic director Don DiJulia agreed. Wednesday night, the Hawks announced Kanacevic would be suspended for two games and a week of practice, per a release from the school.
"There is no place for obscene gestures or personal outbursts directed at anyone," said Martelli. "We have always sought to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to our University and to our opponents, and this behavior was unacceptable and inexcusable, even in the heat of the moment."
"The tradition of the Philadelphia Big 5 and the reputation of Saint Joseph's University are greater than any one game or any one player," added SJU director of athletics Don DiJulia. "In a meeting earlier today with myself and Coach Martelli, Halil was appropriately remorseful and accepting of this sanction. We have reinforced the expectations of our student-athletes, on and off the court."
I'm far less inclined to view Kanacevic's gesture as an outrage, but I understand. I can see why people wouldn't want their kids to see that during a basketball (provided those same people don't let their kids play "Call of Duty" online), and I can totally understand why any institution -- particularly a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher learning -- would prefer not to have itself represented as such. I'm not going to start a #FreeHalil hashtag here.
Mistakes were made, a suspension will be served, life goes on, and in a year or two or five or 10, no one will remember whether Kanacevic was properly chastised after the game. They'll just remember another great Holy War moment. Which, for better or worse, is exactly what it was.