Marcus Morris is sitting tonight against Texas-Arlington. Kansas Head Coach Bill Self announced that the star forward for the Jayhawks will not start after his ejection for throwing an elbow against Cal. Instead, he will be replaced by sophomore forward Thomas Robinson.
The timetable for Morris' return to the starting line-up is unknown. At the same time, Self made it clear that Morris would also play during this period, including in tonight's game. It's the removal of a point of pride, perhaps, but it's also not enough of a statement to really come out against the overly physical play in the win over the Golden Bears.
For those unfamiliar, Morris elbowed 6'8" forward Harper Camp in the face, receiving a flagrant foul and an immediate ejection in that moment. Morris later apologized and seemed humble concerning the incident saying, "I retaliated the wrong way and got myself kicked out of the game. You can't do those things in any sport. I apologized to him and to my team."
If you watched the game, you know that Robinson was the one who started the aggressive attitude on the court when he pushed Cal point guard Jorge Gutierrez early in the game. After Morris was ejected, Robinson and Gutierrez continued to get into it and even caused a melee at one point where coaches and benches got involved in holding back a fight. The idea, in other words, is that Morris was a role player in a greater physical battle that continued before and after the more publicized elbow incident.
If Self wants to make a stand against retaliatory behavior on the court, then he needs to suspend Morris rather than remove him yet play him. It's really a matter of labels and semantics at that point, since Morris could easily come in and play as many minutes as before. At the same time, to insert Robinson into his spot in the line-up is to ignore the very circumstances that led to the incident.
There are only two choices which make sense in this situation. Either Self needs to treat every player involved in the same way as Morris and make a punishment that sticks -- even a one-game suspension, or else he needs to point to the ejection and Morris' post-game comments and apology and leave that alone. Anything else looks like a dog-and-pony show that only makes Self look a bit ridiculous.