If you’re an avid football watcher… or know someone who is… or can’t run away fast enough from someone who is… you’ve probably born the brunt of some tirade for (or against) Kansas State’s Adrian Hillburn’s infamous salute at the Pinstripe Bowl last week.  Oddly, they’ve dubbed it the "Bronx Salute", which would have definitely drawn a flag in violation of the rule….

Rule 9-2-1d –

Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself (or themselves)."

But a real, honest-to-goodness salute does anything but draw attention to yourself.  I can tell you those two officials that threw the flag were definitely not military veterans.  Maybe even raised in a military town where all those bravado-filled muscled military folk kept stealing their dates… or just their favorite bars.

Yeah, that would probably cause a ref to throw a flag at a young man giving a sign of respect to loyal K-State fans in the crowd who traveled halfway across the country and braved blizzard aftermath to cheer on this team and give them the fight to come back in a game where they’d made so many mistakes… but still managed to get back to a position to tie the game up.

The thing is… the salute is a sign of respect.  It always has been.  Lower ranking troops salute the officers to show respect to their leaders.  It draws attention to the officer and on a base, you can clearly see it.  If there’s a group of enlisted walking down the sidewalk and an officer approaches, the second that first salute goes up, they all go up.  To acknowledge his stature as a leader.  To honor him with the respect he deserves.

That’s also why military don’t salute officers in combat/danger zones.  Because you draw attention to the person being saluted… who then gets identified as a prime target for an enemy sniper.

There are some exceptions though.  There have been times when an officer will initiate a salute to a group of enlisted men and women… when they’ve done something worthy of being honored.  The officer will salute those troops to thank them… to show his respect for all their hard work and effort and support.  To draw attention to them and their accomplishments.

See… a salute focuses attention on someone being honored.  It focuses attention on someone other than the person initiating the salute.  By the actual letter of the law by Rule 9-2-1d, Adrian Hillburn had every right to salute the Kansas State fans in the stands.  He had every right to honor them and show his respect for their hard work and effort and support.  He had every right to give those diehard fans the attention they deserved.

And as we can plainly see, the NCAA is establishing its right to snub those fans.  To piss on them while they’re freezing in the stands watching a game they paid to be at.  Money which goes to keeping the NCAA fat with cash… and fan eyeballs that go to helping the NCAA keep all those TV deals and endorsements.  The NCAA should be saluting fans every single game… but with actions like this and interpretations of rules like this, they’re just flipping the fans a real Bronx Salute.