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The Coach of the Two-Time DII National Champions Can't Coach Saturday's Playoff Game Because Players Celebrated Winning the Title With Cigars. This Used to Be a Proper Country.

Tim Heitman. Getty Images.

While Michigan Men are seeing to it that Jim Harbaugh's suspension is taking up all the oxygen in the room:

… there is another head football coach truly being persecuted over nothing. Harbaugh's situation, even if he hasn't been proven guilty yet, at least has the stench of impropriety on his part. There's certainly reason to believe that somebody at Michigan was involved in espionage on some level. Enough to suspect he was involved at the very least. 

But if you want to see a real miscarriage of justice directed at a coach in Michigan, look no further than DII. And a coach far more successful than all the Harbaughs in all the world, if you measure success by championships. And that would be Tony Annese of back-to-back champions Ferris State, from Grand Rapids.

He won't be on the sidelines for their playoff game tomorrow. Because he's guilty of the unpardonable sin of letting grown adults celebrate winning in adult fashion. Which is strictly verboten in modern day America:

Source - Defending champion Ferris State will play a Division II football playoff game Saturday without its coach because he has been suspended for players lighting cigars in the locker room after winning a national title last year.

“Self-pity’s the greatest form of self-destruction, so I just got to suck it up and be a big boy,” Tony Annese told WOOD-TV.

The Bulldogs will travel 60 miles in Michigan to play in-state rival Grand Valley State. 

Annese’s one-game playoff suspension isn’t a total surprise; it was announced by the NCAA earlier this year.

“Technically speaking, I can be at the game. Just got to buy my own ticket. So I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” he said.

In addition, Ferris State had to pay a $2,500 fine and $15,383 in cleaning and repair expenses. The McKinney, Texas, school district, where the 2022 championship game was played, has a strict no-tobacco policy.

The Bulldogs beat Colorado Mines 41-14 for their second consecutive Division II championship.

I can respect Annese for handling this with such grace and self-deprecating humor. But he really should be decrying the injustice of this. It's an outrage! Worse, it's un-American. It's a violation of the fundamental liberty that all Americans enjoy by birthright. And that's the right do whatever you want to do. Just so long as you're awesome enough. 

And crushing your opponent by 27 points in the championship game means you are objectively awesome. And therefore entitled to all the privileges and benefits thereof. 

I don't want to hear about the McKinney, Texas school districts rules and regulations about tobacco use. This was over two Ferris State Bulldogs lighting up in the locker room. TWO! It's not like the whole team did or these two guys walked in the middle of a class of 4th graders and started blowing Macanudo smoke in their faces. And if they had, they still could've pointed to the scoreboard as far as I'm concerned. Those little kids not only would've lived, they'd have learned a lesson about what winners get to do that would've served them in life a lot more than their lessons on long division or some other kid's project about the solar system. It would've been inspirational. 

But again, we're talking about a victorious locker room. So what are we worried about? The player's health? So they can go out and swap bodily fluids, break bones, tear ligaments, and bash brains in for three hours every week for our entertainment. But relaxing for 10 minutes with a fine quality heater will kill them where they stand. Got it. 

And so dies another fine tradition. The Victory Smoke. From Merry and Pippin:

To Larry and Red:

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

Hell, Buttermaker handed out Coors after the Bears lost the championship:

In bottles, no less. Now we won't let 12-year-olds carry glass anywhere near the field in case it breaks. But great coach that he was, he understood they'd won a moral victory and earned the reward of a little substance abuse. 

Of course we could never make that movie today. Or allow even a Larry Bird and Red Auerbach to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. Coach Annese can graciously accept his punishment. But that doesn't mean America has to. When we start punishing winners for acting the way winners always have, there's no way for us to be what we once were.