I do not have it in me to stand on the sideline when someone is being cruel or abusive to a person or animal… and I never will. When my father retired from the Navy we landed in Waco, TX and I have followed Baylor sports ever since.
Early this year Baylor University, Baylor football in particular, was in the news for failure to report alleged sexual assaults or even check on potential victims of rape by Baylor football players. This came to light due to reporting in “Outside the Lines.”
On August 18th a TV station in Waco, Channel 25, reported a different failure to recognize a problem associated with Baylor: Failure to recognize cruelty to animals. I will provide a link at the end of this piece, but please understand the video is graphic and affecting.
Before I go into Baylor’s wide receiver, Ishmael Zamora, #8, beating his dog with a belt and kicking him because the dog wasn’t potty trained, I would like to clarify the source of my “intensified” anger. When Baylor was exposed as not caring about the welfare of young women students on their campus they went to great lengths to “show they cared.” They fired the coach who was totally oblivious and forced the President to eventually resign.
They replaced the coach with Jim Grobe on May 31st. He was billed as the most righteous and honorable man to ever walk across a football field. Head Coach Grobe would clean it up and never again would Baylor allow the slightest transgression by a football player. Before you think I am exaggerating this, here is a link to some of the press posted about Head Coach Jim Grobe who was hired to replace Art Briles.
Ishmael “Ish” Zamora was recorded in his dorm or apartment beating his dog with a belt and then viciously kicking the dog all the while screaming at him. I am guessing it was another player who recorded it because it was reported “another player placed it on Snapchat.” Interestingly, it was placed there in June and a former Baylor student, Shelby Ball, saw the video and reported it to animal control. She said, “… I had to do something as soon as I saw the video.”
It was investigated for a little over a month and Ishmael Zamora received a ticket… Class “C” misdemeanor. That appears to be all the law will allow in a case that is not him abusing someone else’s dog.
While I was unhappy, disquieted, etc. when I originally heard about this, I chalked it up to ignorance and figured there would be hell to pay for him when Baylor’s new head coach gets ahold of him. I had not seen the video because that kind of thing is just not good for me to watch. But…
In Sports Illustrated this morning I saw an article entitled:
“Baylor Player to be Disciplined for Beating Dog”
The article discussed the issue but, more importantly, what new Head Coach Jim Grobe had to say about it:
“We’re not going to tolerate it, he’s going to be disciplined by a lot of people. The city is going to get a piece of him, and the university doesn’t take it lightly. Hopefully, it’s a teaching moment and a learning experience for him. I think he was just frustrated and spanked his dog for not being house-trained, and you just can’t do that,” Grobe added. “He knows that. He loves the dog and takes great care of the dog, other than, you know, losing his temper with the dog. I think he’s taken pretty good care of him.”
Grobe goes on to say Zamora is still practicing with the team, but his playing status will probably be affected.
“We haven’t decided exactly what we’re going to do,” Grobe said. “The thing all of our players understand there’s no guarantee you’re going to get on the field just because you’re a good player. Just because you’re a good player doesn’t mean we’re going to overlook bad behavior.” (See UPDATE at end of article.)
Coach Grobe won’t overlook bad behavior, but he will rationalize it and minimize it for a guy expected to be a good wide receiver this year.
When someone beats and kicks an animal you don’t say:
The other thing that struck me was that this video was posted by another player to social media and was reported by a former student who saw it there. I assume it was taken in Ishmael’s dorm or apartment. Obviously, if the player who posted it was there and did nothing to stop the assault he is as culpable as Zamora. But,
Coach Grobe never spoke to these questions about the other player.
Coach Grobe appears tone deaf just as Coach Briles appeared to be. Whenever you can see a video of a human hurting a creature that cannot fight back and then say, “Other than that he takes good care of it,” you need therapy and you should not be in a position of authority.
The Waco Tribune piece shows all of this and what is illuminating is to read some of the comments below the piece. One person says that this same player had two dogs that went to shelters and he would not get them out because it meant he would have to spay or neuter them. This dog was 20 months old and the problem with “house training” is an ownership problem and not a dog problem. Unfortunately, Ishmael Zamora sent his dog to live with relatives. I hope his relatives are not where he learned how to treat animals.
Are this coach’s comments that different from the comments made around domestic abusers being previously abused or brought up in bad homes? If this coach had seen a man beating his child or his wife with a belt and then kicking them would he have called it a spanking? Does he believe this wide receiver will be any different with his wife or child? Based on the consequences what is to change his behavior in the future?
Here is a link to Waco’s Channel 25 story with the video. Again, if you watch this it will affect you. This is painfully graphic.
I don’t know what discipline Ishmael Zamora should receive. I have learned that animal cruelty laws in Texas are fairly narrow and the penalties fairly benign. I deplore violence and have long believed that violence is an answer whenever intelligence fails, but my first reaction is to let Ishmael know he can come hit me with a belt the next time he gets frustrated. I am a lot older than him and not an athlete, but I will hit back.
UPDATE: August 30, 2016 Baylor football coach Jim Grobe, bowing to intense pressure from an outpouring of unhappy people, decided to suspend Ishmael Zamora for the first three games of the season. This is a truly laughable punishment given that those games are against three teams with a combined 11 wins last year. The opponents those three teams beat you have probably never heard of.
So, once again, winning football trumps any form of real discipline. But, we did not expect much after disciplinarian Grobe tried to minimize the entire incident. And now with he and Vice President and Athletic Director Mack Rhoades have repeated how this type of thing won’t be condoned! Well, at least not when nearly 200,000 sign a petition to have the player removed from the team!
Please support Spay and Neuter programs and Animal Rescue organizations. This helps keep animals away from people like Ishmael Zamora.