Instead of starting his aggravated robbery trial this morning, Maurice Clarett is probably spending some time with a court-appointed psychologist, who will help determine whether The Troubled Former Ohio State Running Back is competent to stand trial. I’m betting he’s not.
When he’s not talking to a shrink, he’s going to be in jail. Not only did the judge set his bond on the most recent charges at $5 million, Clarett’s bond on the robbery charge was upped to more than $1 million. And there may be more charges on the way, boys and girls … Looks like he’s going to miss the season opener of the Mahoning Valley Hit Men.
Last week I tried to explain what I feel about Clarett, and I did a lousy job. Part of that stems from the fact that he was such a huge part of the 2002 national championship. Our friend Kristi, however, isn’t nearly as ambivalent. In case you missed her comment on the last post:
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.
Kristi: I’m with you for the first paragraph and most of the second. I have a couple quibbles:
I don’t view the 2002 title as tainted in any way. Yes, I feel a little strange watching the highlight DVDs from that season or from the Fiesta Bowl (something I do with alarming frequency this time of year), because he’s featured so heavily. But the hassles with Maurice didn’t really start until that trophy was already ensconced in the Woody Hayes Center was over. If there had been anything to somehow taint that season in an official sense, I’m sure the NCAA would have had something to say about it.
(A side note about the Fiesta Bowl DVD. Everyone knows about the dust-up between Clarett and Andy Geiger just before the game: Maurice wanted to go home to attend the funeral of a friend/OSU said he didn’t fill out the proper paperwork to qualify for a flight/Maurice says the university is out to get him and pouting ensued. OK. After the TD in the second overtime, Clarett celebrates in the endzone with his teammate … and then it’s like he remembered that he’s supposed to be pissed about something. There’s a shot of him sitting on the bench, and he has his head down, barely acknowledging his teammates who walk up to congratulate him. And he disappears during the post-game; Lynn Swann is practically begging to interview him, and one of the seniors finally drags him on the stage. When he gets there, he’s totally sullen, not at all happy, it seems, that his football team just won a national championship. Very strange.)
And in the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about who owes who in this “relationship,” and my conclusion is that it’s pretty much a wash. I do feel like Ohio State fans got something from him for that 2002 season; it’s pretty clear to me that if the starting tailback that year had been Lydell Ross or Maurice Hall, we wouldn’t have made it to the Fiesta Bowl.
But Clarett got something back as well: The chance that a scholarship football player at any major program gets. Kristi points out the fact that there are plenty of players who “kept their noses in the books and their asses out of jail.” I’ll go one further. There are probably thousands of football players on football scholarships in this country who come from backgrounds as horrifying as Clarett’s, and most of them understand, and take advantage of, the opportunity they have. Making the most of that opportunity might mean going to the NFL, and it might mean just getting a degree and moving into a life they might not have been able to reach if they had stayed in Youngstown. He had that opportunity in Columbus, and he chose not to accept it.
OK. I’d like to hear comments on this post, especially from Kristi. And I would like to say, as a final note, that I do wish Maurice Clarett well. But those points aside, I think Uncle Crappy is done with Maurice Clarett. I’d much rather talk about this year’s football team, which I think has the potential to kick some serious ass.