Uh, this isn’t good.

In the unlikely case you haven’t heard, former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett was arrested after a police chase early today. Columbus cops tried to pull over his SUV after it made an illegal u-turn on the east side, and after a five-minute chase along I-70, they got him stopped in a restaurant parking lot.

The officers had to use mace to get Clarett under control; the Tazer they tried using didn’t work because Maurice was wearing a bullet-proof vest. They then found that Clarett was carrying four loaded guns — a rifle and three handguns — in the truck, along with some Grey Goose vodka.

It gets worse. This happened just days before Clarett’s trial on armed robbery charges was to begin.

I don’t know what Columbus thinks about this — I’ve been a little afraid to look at the message board The Dispatch set up on its web page — but to me, it’s mostly sad. There’s no question he has — had? — the talent to play in the NFL, and that might have been the one thing that could have kept him out of this kind of trouble.

The fact that he’s not playing on Sunday is largely his responsibility — as I pointed out a couple of days ago, he didn’t seem to put forth any effort when his chance with the league finally came up. And he’s accused of making a lot of poor choices since then, things like holding up people outside of bars or driving around Columbus with an small arsenal and an open bottle of vodka in his truck.

I know I’m in an overwhelming minority here, but I’ll always believe Ohio State fans owe Maurice something, because we wouldn’t have won that national title without him. So I have to think there’s something the community could have done to help him out at some point. I’m just not sure what that is.

7 Comments

  1. UC –
    I agree that it certainly is bad news – but I’m not one feel all that sorry for him nor think OSU or its fans should have done more for him – yes, he was part of the 2002 team, however, that doesn’t make himself personally less responsible for his own actions and life –

    My view of Maurice is that his ego got a bit, maybe a lot, too big, and he started acted like an ass (not exactly the same as Terrell Owens, but on the same path) – then he made some really bad choices – is in trouble with the law –

    my point is, I don’t see any differences between Maurice and any other youth, from an impoverished, troubled background – and wether or not they should be treated differently before / after they have broken the law (I’m assuming here, that he did what he’s been charged with). Society expects all of its members not to break certain rules, and if they do, they will be held accountable – regardless or not of if they were on a football team (unless you’re OJ, I guess).

    Those are my thoughts – either way you see it – it doesn’t change anything with the current team – so let Maurince work with Franklin County’s public defender, and we can focus on the Bucks!

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  2. It now appears — appears — that he’s very lucky police caught him when they did. He was obviously well-armed, concerned about his own well-being (the vest) and headed somewhere. Franklin County prosecutors asked a judge yesterday to revoke his bond in the armed robbery charges because when he pulled the u-turn, he was a short distance away from the home of the woman who would have identified him in the robbery trial. It’s impossible to say for sure, but I think we could have easily been talking about an OJ kind of deal instead of possession of concealed weapons and some traffic violations.

    And John, you’re absolutely right. After losing his challenge of the NFL’s draft rules in 2004, he had little to do but work out and prepare for the 2005 draft and season. Instead, he was so slow at the scounting combine that it prompted one Columbus radio station to hold a “Beat Maurice’s 40 Time” promotion. And he apparently acted like total prima donna at camp with Denver, despite the fact that he still hadn’t bothered to get himself into shape.

    Finally, our attorney once again comes through with the best advice possible. Kewyson, it’s possible I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. I think Clarett would have benefitted from remaining in the OSU community somehow, although what Ohio State can do is limited by an NCAA rule book that not even a lawyer can understand. It also would have been helpful if he had someone in his family strong enought to help keep him moving in the right direction. But ultimately, the choices he made are his.

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  3. Many former players are embraced by the OSU/Columbus communities, many taking jobs and appearing at charity events for years after they hang up the scarlet jersey. These players weren’t necessarily the best players, but they made correct choices. They kept their noses in the books and their asses out of jail.

    I think Maurice owes Ohio State something. He had it all here. He decided to do unsavory things and drag my alma mater through the mud. He was given many opportunities and decided to piss each of them away. It hurts everytime he graces news headlines. It is never good news, and inevitably, Ohio State’s good name is always mentioned numerous times.

    I hope this year’s team can win it all. Think how nice an unblemished title will feel.

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  4. UC –

    CNN.com headline for Sunday Morning – “Castro feels ‘happy’ on 80th birthday”.

    Nothing to do with your posting – just funny I thought – do you think you’ll get an assignment to go to Cuba – wait, we can’t do that just yet – maybe you can angle in a trip to Key West – only 90 miles from Cuba.

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  5. Castro: “It’s my 80th birthday, and I feel happy. Oh, and I died four days ago…”

    Don’t scoff. It’s an excellent possibility…

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