Last week, USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley made headlines when he called Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burficit a "dirty player" just ahead of the highly-anticipated USC-ASU Pac-12 South game in Tempe. Burfict and the Sun Devils got the better of Barkley and the Trojans on Saturday, beating USC 43-22 with the help of a Burfict pick of Barkley, shown below, and a late fourth-quarter surge.
JediASU: 7 to 7 - Vontaze Burfict Intercepts Matt Barkley (via JediASU)
You would think that Saturday's result would be the end of the story, but it's not. Pac-12 commissioner released this statement on Tuesday: "All of our student-athletes adhere to the Pac-12's policies on Sportsmanship and Standards of Conduct, which call for our student athletes to treat opponents with respect...In these circumstances, Mr. Barkley's comments were a clear violation of Conference rules and he is being appropriately reprimanded."
That's all fine and good, but isn't this taking it a little too far? Barkley was just voicing his opinion about an opponent who he has played against for the past two years. His comment reflects the observations that he and his teammates have made over that time, and he merely shared them with the media.
Barkley's quote was a good piece of trash talk that added an extra dimension to Saturday's game. Ultimately, that's all his comment turned out to be: trash talk. Neither player took extreme, dramatic measures on the field on Saturday. Neither player showed unsportsmanlike conduct on Saturday. Barkley's statement should be forgotten and all sides involved should move on, Pac-12 included.