THE BLOG

A Bullheaded View on Bullfighting

07/07/2010 11:20 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We've seen it in football. We've seen it in basketball. We've even seen it in the Olympics.

It's athletes' "excessive celebrating" on the field; and every time I see it, it makes me sick.

Now the ugly face of poor sportsmanship has reared its wart-covered mug into one of the most highly respected and revered of all athletic competitions -- bullfighting.

This past week during the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, famed Castilian matador, Fernando de la Vega y Cruz, was gored to death by Pinto the Bull. After ripping his horns through de la Vega y Cruz's femoral artery, Pinto danced around and bellowed like some sort of wild animal. The International Bullfighting Federation has suspended Pinto for one month, but is that enough?

As far as I'm concerned, it's not even a slap on the hoof; rather, it's a flick on the tail. Pinto displayed the worst not only of his sport, but of his genus as well. Sure, I get it -- bulls like to snort and stomp around following a win. However, Pinto appeared to do some sort of choreographed dance to a remix of Enrique Inglesias's Hero. He's a showboat of the worst kind and he's indicative of the new breed of male bovines that are fighting toreros across the world.

What kind of message is Pinto sending to all the little calves out there? All I hear is, "If you act like a jackass, spend all your money on 14-karat diamond-encrusted nose rings and impale matadors with your tattooed covered horns, then the world is your oyster." When I asked Pinto about this, his handlers shot back that Pinto has no interest in being a role model. Oh yeah? The moment you enter that gloriously golden patch of earth, whether you like it or not, you're a role model. Everybody from the picadores to the banderilleros to the toros themselves are role models.

Let me tell you who a true role model was -- the late, great legendary matador himself, Fernando de la Vega y Cruz. Before Pinto so ruthlessly took his life, Fernando was the epitome of class. After each of his 142 victories where he stabbed a bull repeatedly in the neck and back area with multiple punctures of his sword, de la Vega y Cruz would perform a simple bow as his thousands of adoring fans would toss roses and love letters at his feet as his vanquished opponent lay bleeding to death behind him. That is how a true athlete conducts himself. Think about that, Pinto.

The International Bullfighting Federation needs to take a bullish stand against this bully bull behavior. It should be an automatic forfeit of a match if a bull taunts an opponent or celebrates excessively following a win. And by forfeit, I mean the bull in question is put back into his pen and stabbed repeatedly in the neck and back area until he bleeds to death.

Tough love is the only way to get the beautiful and graceful sport of bullfighting back on track.