Football is an intrinsically violent sport.
But even within that expected violence, there is something of a gentlemen’s code of honor among football players: We will try to hurt you, but we will not try to injure you.
(If you’ve never played football, the accepted distinction is that everybody plays football hurt, but if you’re injured, you can’t play.)
Louisiana Tech linebacker Brevin Randle appeared to violate that code after an incredibly dirty play was caught on camera — but not by refs.
Randle arguably became college football’s top villain overnight after his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs took on the University Texas at El Paso Miners on Friday.
The Bulldogs beat the Miners 24-10 in the Conference USA clash, but the only story anyone wanted to speak about after the game was about the incredibly dirty stunt pulled by Randle.
In short: After a play had been blown dead, Randle was caught clearly stomping his foot (football cleats and all) onto the neck area of a downed UTEP offensive lineman, Steven Hubbard.
Take a look for yourself at the sickening move below (and take note of the clear pain the stomp left Hubbard in):
— Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) September 30, 2023
Making matters so much worse (and so much more dangerous), Randle’s stomp appeared to be aimed at a soft spot between where the football helmet ends and the protective padding around the neck begins.
Even when noted NFL villain Ndamukong Suh began gaining a reputation as a dirty player for extracurricular stomping at the pro level, he would typically aim for an arm or a leg — not dangerously close to someone’s jugular.
So there’s certainly an argument to be made that Randle’s stomp was more dangerous than any stunt Suh ever pulled, but the Louisiana Tech linebacker, for now, does not have repeat offenses on his record.
That small bit of solace did not matter to the larger online crowds.
Randle, a fifth-year senior, was rightly eviscerated for the move.
NFL pundit and football podcaster Brett Kollmann called the stomp “One of the dirtiest things I’ve seen done on a football field in quite some time.”
(There appears to be a total online agreement, a rarity in 2023, that this was a dirty play. The only quibble appears to be whether it’s “the dirtiest” or “one of the dirtiest.”)
Outkick’s Trey Wallace called for a “hefty suspension” of Randle, another demand made by many online.
Neither the NCAA nor Louisiana Tech, nor even Conference USA had announced anything regarding a potential suspension of Randle as of Saturday afternoon.
The social media sentiments of disgust at Randle were only exacerbated by the fact that the referees completely missed the stomp.
“The referee, who I really admire, came over at halftime and very gentlemanly said that he missed it,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said, according to the El Paso Times. “That’s part of the game. He (the official) was a class act, I really appreciated that.”
While Dimel handled the missed call graciously after the fact, in the moment, the Times notes that he exploded on the refereeing crew for missing such an obvious and critical penalty.
For UTEP, the 1-5 Miners appear ready to move on from the incident.They will have a chance to secure just their second win of the season when they play Florida International University on Oct. 11.
For the 3-3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the team will next face Western Kentucky University on Thursday — and they could very well be doing so without the services of Brevin Randle.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.