Florida’s feel-good win against Georgia -- which clinched the SEC East for the Gators -- looked a bit uglier after video clips surfaced on YouTube late Saturday night of Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes gouging the eyes Washaun Ealey after making a tackle. The video below, which could be removed at any time, shows Spikes reaching into Ealey’s facemask with his right hand and digging down.
On his teleconference Sunday morning, Gators coach Urban Meyer said he hadn’t yet discussed the play with Spikes. “I’ll talk to him today, Meyer said. “He’s a very emotional player. If that’s the case, I’ll have a very serious talk with him.” That talk should end with Meyer suspending his best defender for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt.
If Spikes played for Ohio State or Michigan, you can be certain he’d be sitting out. The Big Ten, much like the NFL, has issued ex post facto suspensions this season. For example, the conference suspended Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton for a Sept. 19 game against Eastern Michigan for punching Notre Dame center Eric Olsen on Sept. 12.
SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom wrote in an e-mail that the conference has suspended players in the past, but the SEC has not delved much into individual player discipline lately. In fact, the league seems too preoccupied with coaches voicing legitimate concerns about the quality of the league’s officials to police dirty play.
Spikes may have been committing a little Old Testament-style retaliation Saturday. Earlier in the game, a Georgia player went under Spikes’ facemask, ripping off Spikes’ helmet in the process. After the play, Spikes clutched the area around his eyes in pain. If a camera also caught that play, someone should upload it as well.
That still doesn’t excuse Spikes for gouging a defenseless Ealey. Yes, things get nasty in the pile, but going for the eyes is a lowdown, dirty move. Besides, Spikes is so good that he can inflict enough pain on clean hits. He should stick to that -- beginning Nov. 14 at South Carolina.