The Villanova Men’s Basketball team is 24- 2, ranked #6 in the nation, and is considered by many to be one of the leading contenders for a national championship come March (and hopefully April). However, the most attention they’ve gotten all season came after Monday night’s game at home against Seton Hall, an 80- 54 victory for the Wildcats. It was not Villanova’s win that brought the notoriety, however. Instead, it was Sterling Gibbs’ forearm to the face of Wildcat point guard Ryan Arcidiacono.

The incident happened in the last five minutes of the game when Villanova was up by 26 points. Although it initially appeared that the hit may have been incidental, video of the punch is explicit evidence that the attack was no accident and Gibbs definitely intended to punch Arcidiacono in the head. Gibbs was then ejected from the game and could possibly face suspension once Big East officials review the film.

There is no doubt that punching people in the face during a game should never be condoned, but perhaps the massive attention given to Gibbs is a bit over the top. ESPN led their college basketball coverage with footage of the hit on Monday night, but they rarely bring up what Villanova is doing otherwise.

The answer for this is clear. Given the opportunity to gain viewers or pageviews, members of the national media were quick to sensationalize the character of a frustrated, violent athlete.

Everyone is talking about the video, but not many people are talking about the sincere apology tweet that Gibbs sent out after the game. The tweet read “Man that’s not who I am. I’m sorry to my family, friends, fans, and team for being an embarrassment. Even more sorry to @ RyArch15 . . I let my emotions get the best of me and that wasn’t acceptable at all. I hope you’re alright and I will face any consequences coming. Sorry again @RyArch15 it really is weighing heavy on my heart,” to which Arcidiacono replied, “Emotions sometimes get the best of us. heat of the moment thing. We’re all good. @ SterlingGibbs4.”

Clearly, Gibbs was very upset with himself for what he did and Arcidiacono, at least publicly, understood where he was coming from as a fellow athlete. Both professional athletes and college athletes face a lot of pressure from the media to constantly be role models and behave and the truth is that they are just people that can’t be perfect all the time.

In the heat of the moment, when Seton Hall was losing and frustrated, Gibbs lost his cool for a second and made a mistake by punching another player. He apologized for the incident and is willing to accept the consequences to come, so does he really deserve to become the vehicle for ESPN’s latest grab at viewers through emphasizing controversy?

What would happen if some of these journalists had their emotional moments debated for the nation to see? Of course, it comes with the territory of playing in nationally-televised games, but it feels as if it’s easier to see the action and jump to have the “hottest take” in our sports media landscape.

Jay Williams of ESPN argued Monday night that Gibbs deserved to be suspended for the remainder of the season because the act was simply too violent for college basketball. Williams is right that there is no room for punching people in the face in college basketball games, but people need to give Gibbs a break for what he did. He apologized immediately and expressed his regret— Arcidiacono even publicly tweeted that him and Gibbs were okay. Athletes make mistakes just like people make mistakes and Gibbs doesn’t deserve the amount of scorn from the media for what he did.