Fairley is a dirty player. No amount of pretending otherwise is going to change that or make anybody NOT believe what they see with their own two eyes. The question isn't whether or not Fairley is dirty...it's simply "do you care or not?" A lot of people don't care, including Auburn, the SEC and the NCAA.
It might serve as bulletin board material for Auburn, but there’s a chance Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas made a very smart move today.
Asked about Tiger defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s reputation as a “dirty” player, Thomas said, “Oh, yeah, we’ve seen he’s got a lot of dirty plays, throwing people around after the play and things like that.” ESPN’s Chris Low writes that Thomas then followed up with: “But that’s just football. I don’t worry about it because it’s a physical game.”
And if Fairley comes for him on Monday? “If it happens, it happens. You’ve just got to get back up for the next play.”
Getting back up was a problem for Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Georgia’s Aaron Murray, both of whom were knocked from their games with Auburn by Mr. Fairley.
For his part, Fairley said that he’s just trying to make plays for his team. “If it’s me playing dirty, if that’s what they call it, that’s what it is.”
Fairley will definitely be motivated by Thomas’ comments — not that he needs in any extra motivation in a BCS Championship Game. But Thomas’ remarks might help the Ducks’ cause, too.
By calling even more attention to Fairley before the game, he might cause officials to pay closer attention to Fairley during the game. That’s how borderline plays go from not drawing a flag to drawing one.
Fairley was going to be a marked man on Monday night anyway. Thomas’ comments might put a little more spotlight on his play.