Amber Battle pushed first.
And now, like Nigel Bethel II, she is being reprimanded for her actions.
The Lady Raiders’ leading scorer is suspended for the month of November for her involvement in the altercation with Bethel last weekend at the Tech Student Recreation Center.
“I initiated the first contact and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want to take this time to apologize to Nigel, the Texas Tech community, my teammates, coaches and fans,” Battle said in a news release. “Nothing I can say can truly repair the harm I have already caused. I did not represent the Double T like I am supposed to and I promise to hold myself to a higher standard from here on.”
Bethel was suspended from the entire Tech football program.
And, Battle’s penalty was less than his for a reason.
She is the one with the broken bones in her face.
She is the one that had surgery.
She is the one with injuries.
Bethel was just pushed in a heated game.
Basketball is physical and everyone loses their cool from time to time.
It’s what you do when you’re upset that matters the most.
The 5-foot-9, 173-pound Bethel is accused of punching Battle in the face, presumably after they got locked up underneath the basketball and she pushed him.
He retaliated with violence. It doesn’t matter who it is against or what happened prior.
He escalated the situation.
“He had a chance to respond differently, but he chose to retaliate in a way that was completely unacceptable,” said Tech spokesman Blayne Beal.
Once a punch is thrown, a line is crossed.
It doesn’t matter if it is men, women, pro, college, high school, or AAU, or Little Leagues.
It is no longer a heated game. It is a brawl, a fight and an assault.
And that means mandatory punishment and possible dismissal.
So, that’s what happened.
While Battle was suspended from competition during November, Texas Tech announced last week that Bethel was dismissed from the football program for his involvement in the incident, stating in the release, “Texas Tech Athletics does not tolerate violence against women.”
And a man hitting a woman in this instance does matter.
If Bethel had hit a man, his punishment probably would not have been as severe.
When former Baylor star Brittney Griner and Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle got tied up going for a rebound in 2011, Barncastle was called for a foul after she sent Griner, then a freshman, skidding toward the baseline.
Griner, who is 6-foot-8, took two steps toward her and landed a roundhouse right.
Griner was only suspended two games.
While Griner’s suspension was nearly laughable for such a violation, it shows the difference between hitting someone of the same sex and a man hitting a woman.
Neither is acceptable.
But, one can’t be tolerated.
What Bethel did was aggravated assault — a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment that includes a prison sentence between two to 20 years.
What Battle did was a push in a heated game of basketball.
That’s the biggest difference; that’s why Bethel is no longer a Red Raider and Battle will suit up for the Lady Raiders in December.
That’s why Battle was given a chance to apologize.
She was the victim.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who started it.
It’s how it ends.
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