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BSU's Petersen defends decision not to suspend player

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

Boise State football coach Chris Petersen defended his decision not to suspend defensive end Byron Hout on the WAC media teleconference on Monday.

Hout was punched in the face after taunting Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount after Thursday’s game. Oregon suspended Blount for the remainder of the season.

"Byron is being disciplined, there's no question about that," Petersen said. "It was the wrong thing to do to say anything to anybody on the football field, but I think if everybody got suspended for saying something half the teams wouldn't have guys to play games. I think it's something that everybody has learned from -- our program and hopefully teams from the outside that we just say nothing and play ball."

WAC commissioner Karl Benson supported Petersen’s discipline though he did say Hout violated the conference’s sportsmanship code, which requires a private reprimand. Benson agreed with Petersen’s assertion that if every player were suspended for talking that there would be far fewer players on the field.

"Granted, his comments triggered the Oregon player to act like he did, but the words that the Boise State player said to the Oregon player are pretty regular occurrences I would think either before a game, during a game or after a game," Benson said. "Was it a taunt? Yes, it was a taunt. And yet if it hadn't triggered the reaction nothing would have been said."

Benson said he spoke with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott on Friday morning, but said there was no pressure applied by the Pac-10 to take any additional action than was already taken.

Scott told the New York Times that he would have liked to have seen Hout receiver a stiffer, more public punishment.

“It takes two to tango,” Scott told the Times. “I was concerned about what I heard the Boise State coach say about how it was going to be handled. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not going to second-guess anything that that conference decides to do.”

Benson said he understands Hout’s comments triggered Blount reaction, but stressed that the comment, which Benson didn’t reveal, wasn't as severe as many are making it out to be.

“I understand the arguments that his comments triggered the whole thing and as a result he should be held accountable,” Benson said. “I just don’t know if it’s the degree that some people are out there demanding suspension of the Boise State player.”