Now that University of Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard has dodged a huge bullet, there is an urban warfare mentality he must eliminate from his life.
Whenever Howard does something out of bounds, his constant refrain is, “This is how we handle things in the hood. I am a street kid.”
That’s fine if he were the head coach of Team Blue on the Southside Chicago YMCA team. However, he is head coach of Team Blue of the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines. The old saying is you can take a kid out of the street, but it’s difficult to take the street out of the street kid.
Howard is no longer the street kid from Chicago’s Vocation Career Academy. Nor is he a key member of Michigan’s Fab Five as a freshman and sophomore. He is a 49-year-old grown ass multimillionaire man.
Howard deserved the five-game suspension and $40,000 fine for striking Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft at the handshake line after Wisconsin’s 77-63 victory over Michigan in Madison. He did not deserve to be fired as many of you wanted.
Howard went off when Krabbenhoft put his hands on a Michigan player. When a coach recruits a player, he often makes promises to his family. He promises not only to teach him basketball, but to protect him. That’s what Howard believed he was doing.
He still made the wrong move. There is an adult way to handle things.
“After taking time to reflect on all that happened, I realize how unacceptable both my actions and words were, and how they affected so many. I am truly sorry,” Howard said in a statement. “I am offering my sincerest apology to my players and their families, my staff, my family and the Michigan fans around the world. [And] I would like to personally apologize to Wisconsin’s assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft and his family, too.”
“Lastly, I speak a lot about being a Michigan man and representing the University of Michigan with class and pride, I did not do that, nor did I set the right example in the right way for my student-athletes. I will learn from my mistake and this mistake will never happen again.”
It must never happen again.
If it does Howard must never walk the sidelines at a Michigan game again. He nearly caused a riot as tempers flared and players exchanged punches and unpleasantries. Howard initiated the skirmish and was off base in his anger when Badgers coach Greg Gard called late timeouts during a game Wisconsin long ago salted away.
Here is what Juwan Howard is missing.
Gard put in his reserves who struggled to break a press that Howard called for. That’s a bad move for Howard. He should understand that Gard was trying to settle down his young guns as Howard refused to call the dogs off.
Howard did not want to shake hands with Gard, who made the foolish mistake of trying to impede the progress of an angry man in the handshake line. Gard treated Howard like a child when he tried to stop him. Men don’t like being held up to be scolded. So I get why Howard’s angry boiled over.
He should have the strength and fortitude to brush Gard aside and say “Bitch get out of my way. I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
If that happens, Juwan Howard simply answers a couple of unpleasant press conference questions, and we all move on. Instead, he mimics’ Batista of the WWE and we have a crisis that overshadows tensions in Ukraine.
Follow Foster on Twitter at TerryFosterDet.