Stand up and give SMU football player Blake McJunkin an ovation.
The Pony’s center not only displayed a rare on-field level of sportsmanship, he also demonstrated human concern on a higher level.
Early in Sunday’s matchup between the Texas A&M Aggies and the SMU Mustangs, McJunkin’s offense surrendered an interception to A&M safety Trent Hunter. McJunkin and fellow SMU offensive lineman Kelly Turner turned defenders and stopped Hunter with force enough to pop off his helmet.
Laying prone, head exposed, Hunter might have faced serious injury had a player from either side piled on his head. McJunkin became even more defensive, shielding the downed Aggie’s head from contact.
"It was just a natural reaction," McJunkin said in a Houston Chronicle report. "When he lost his helmet, it was just the right thing to do, no matter the color of his jersey. I've seen people get hurt in that situation."
The move didn’t go unnoticed or unrecognized by A&M faithful. In a PonyFans.com report, Aggie athletic director Bill Byrne was quoted from his postgame press conference.
“Every year there are opportunities to make nominations for good sportsmanship awards via the NCAA and various conferences. We are going to recommend SMU lineman Blake McJunkin, No. 63, receive a sportsmanship award.”
And that’s how sportsmanship begets sportsmanship.
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. Something similar happened to him during his playing days. He lost his helmet, was at the bottom of a pile, and somebody punched him in the face. He probably deserved it.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, NBC 5, NBCDFW.com or its employees.