Friday, November 12, 2004

Regarding Clarett

I've read all of the articles regarding Maurice Clarett's claims of illicit benefits received through coaches and boosters at OSU, whom he claims later betrayed him, and as crazy as it may seem to some, I believe him and I'm pulling for him to succeed at the next level. Putting aside the issue of whether or not Ohio State is punished for their NCAA transgressions (and let's be clear: they should get HAMMERED) for a moment (will touch on this in a later post, I'm sure), I want to see Maurice Clarett succeed because I can imagine how almost any ultra-talented D-1 college football player could've found himself in this position. Frankly, it's a wonder that more don't, and I'd speculate that the only reason for that is that most schools are not stupid enough to handle such players the way that OSU did (as Tortfeasor observed earlier). I feel sorry for Maurice Clarett--I do think he was used and then thrown away when OSU felt that he was more trouble than he was worth (again, what a dumb move).

As for those who point out that Clarett was complicit in receiving the NCAA-forbidden benefits, let me say this: I've never been one to judge a kid in college who takes handouts that are freely offered to him, and I'm not about to in this case. How many of you can say that you'd turn the money and cars down, particularly when your head coach and mentor, in whom you've put tremendous trust, authorizes it all? For those who said they'd turn it down, I'd be interested to know your socioeconomic backgrounds.

With regard to the issue of credibility, what has Clarett done to call his into question? It seems to me that the only thing one can point to is the very thing that he now seeks to rectify: his failure to be forthcoming with the NCAA when they originally questioned him about alleged violations. And, for the record, the national sports media (not to mention the NCAA, whose guilt in such instances is far more pernicious) conveniently gives free passes on the credibility front to individuals with far more dubious histories than Maurice Clarett. On that note, how can one consider Milton Kirk more credible than Maurice Clarett? At best, their respective situations are equivalent (Kirk took part in a conspiracy to sell the services of one of his high school football players, only to later "come clean"), and at worst, Kirk was a player in a much broader conspiracy with the intention of fattening his wallet and taking down an entire football program in the process. Oh yeah, and Clarett didn't break any laws.



At 2:04 PM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...

I tend to agree with you, MSR, with one caveat: one must question Clarett's wisdom in selecting Jim Brown as his mentor/spokesperson. And it was a little classless to call out OSU the way he did on national TV during the Fiesta Bowl for not flying him home -- but again, we're talking about an 18-19 year old kid here, so you've got to be a little understanding.

But yeah, it's hard to imagine how a college kid could turn down the side benefits that come with being a big-time college athlete. I sure wouldn't have.

The real sleazeball in all this, in my opinion, is Slick Jim Tressel, what with his sweater vest and tie and squeaky-clean image, running a rogue program that would make Phil Fulmer blush (sorry Six Meat, if you're reading this).

I hope they get absolutlely hammered, but something tells me they won't. I've got to give OSU this much: at least they're not going to bend over for the NCAA the way Bama did. As experience has shown, fighting the NCAA tooth and nail is the only to ensure your institution will get a fair shake.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger MSR said...

Oh, I'm not arguing that he's a smart and/or mature kid. The decision to call out OSU publicly was ill-advised indeed, although I would imagine that a meteoric rise such as his can be a little disillusioning.


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