There were roughly 12,500 penises at Washington-Grizzly Stadium Sept. 10.
One was exposed.
Nearly two weeks after the Griz's Cal-Poly game, a picture of Daniel Thew trotting nude in the midday sun before flustered parents, gawking children and giggling teenage girls is still vivid in the minds of many Missoulians.
Thew didn't just flash the audience: He danced. The pink-cheeked, 19-year-old even smacked his butt by the end zone. Egged on by choruses of "Dan the Man," he did a rhythmic if impaired bump-and-grind just before security hauled him off the field.
Thew said in an interview with 96.3 The Blaze that his boxers came off in the spur of the moment. His friends, he said, told him streaking was a good idea. "Everybody was chanting, 'Dan the man, Dan the man'...I couldn't turn them down, that many people?"
After the game, an apparently red-faced UM official said the teenager from Milwaukee would be suspended or expelled. The university is now mum on whether it will fulfill that threat. Meanwhile, Thew pleaded guilty last week to minor in possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct charges. On Sept. 14, the Missoula City Attorney's Office also charged him with obscenity. Yet somehow, despite the misdemeanors and the threat of expulsion, some locals aren't satisfied.
Editorial pages and online comment boards are brimming with the opinions of community members who say, among other things, that seeing Thew's junk scarred kids. One Indy letter writer said, "the Missoula Police Department should charge him with child abuse for streaking in front of so many small children..."
Child abuse? Really?
Thew's behavior wasn't dangerous. And it stands out against a host of truly destructive—and illegal—recent activities of UM students. We heard nary a murmur of outrage from school officials or the public when more than one Griz player was charged with DUI last summer. Nor did we see locals up in arms after UM student Michael Ream fired a gun on campus, shooting a student in the hand. Law enforcement charged Ream with negligent endangerment. UM reprimanded him and placed him on probation.
Thew might not have been the brightest guy in Washington-Grizzly Stadium Sept. 10, but the furor doesn't match his actions. And it makes us wonder why some members of our community seem to fear nudity more than drunk driving or gun-toting students. It was, after all, just one small to medium-sized penis.