Repeat after us: Football is not war

Fri, Dec 4

When then-University of Miami tight end Kellen Winslow infamously declared himself a soldier in 2003, the sports world wagged its fingers and laughed at his lack of perspective.

Yet Oregon and Oregon State still contest a "Civil War" every year, and nary a joke is cracked -- even though Oregon's helmets evoke more Captain EO than Ulysses S. Grant.

In addition to the Civil War, other schools wage the "Holy War," the "Border War" and too many "Battles" to count. Winslow was slammed for making rash comments -- something 20-year-olds never do -- just as BYU quarterback Max Hall was for describing his hatred for the Utah program and its fans after last week's Holy War.

Since when was hatred unacceptable in war?

Winslow apologized the day after his rant. "I meant no disrespect to the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces," he said at the time. "I cannot begin to imagine the magnitude of war or its consequences."

Six years later, Winslow's rant still sparks laughter, although rivalry games are still referred to with a straight face as "war." Hall had to apologize for his comments, which were sparked in part because his family was taunted by Utah fans about their religion. At the Holy War.

Apparently it's OK to treat football as war if your boots are in the stands, but not if your cleats are on the grass.