If you have not seen the news, Clemson's All-American wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, was arrested early Friday morning and charged with two misdemeanors. Clemson treats possession charges as positive tests and thus Sammy Watkins, as far as we know, has now reached the first offense stage of the Tigers' discipline policy.
That means meeting with a coach and other personnel, 15-30 hours of community service, frequent testing and mandatory counseling. No automatic suspension is noted in the policy, so we should, at least for now, expect to see Sammy Watkins out on the field for the big showdown against Auburn.
From the macro view, this is another college football player being arrested. Sound the alarm, folks! The boys are out there running roughshod over the commoners what with their sense of entitlement and tremendous egos! This is an outrage!
Watkins' makes 57 or so arrests since January for guys who play college football. He'll draw the "character issue" tag just six months after everyone was talking about how he is so humble and is such a good kid.
Let's all pump our breaks for a second. Sure, the numbers appear "staggering" when you are looking at them in a list or in total. The problem with that is these are not numbers that should be viewed as a sum to be held against the sport. This is not PEDs running rampant in baseball, as players push to keep up with their opponents. This is not a systematic pattern of rule abuse or recklessness.
Each of these occurrences are isolated incidents, with their own individual circumstances, where 17-23 year old guys who happen to play college football are being caught misbehaving. Lumping Tommy Rees' drunken antics in with the TCU sting operation makes very little sense. Well, unless you are trying to draw a correlation that is not there.
Look, no one hates seeing guys get arrested more than me. It is not good for their long-term future, and it most certainly does not put the program in a positive light. However, the reason it is so difficult to determine who should play in a title game is the same reason these results can't be lumped together: far too much variation in the college football landscape.
We are talking about guys who have never met, in situations that are wholly unique, being a trend? That's not a trend; that's called real life. Pick up any campus police blotter: it's filled with transgressions ranging from the mundane to the serious, and they most certainly are not all athletes.
Do not create a problem where there is not one. If there is a group of players on a team getting repeatedly busted for the same offense, then you have a trend. It should be addressed by the coaching staff and the university. Clemson's certainly been relatively quiet on the arrest front. Pretending that this Sammy Watkins incident is anything more than an isolated occurrence is taking quite the liberty.
He was arrested with a soccer player. Does that mean men's soccer has a problem as well?
Of course not, because you don't care about soccer. The same way you don't care about normal students. The football players' arrests get the publicity, and then people take it upon themselves to spit out diatribes about how they are all entitled, spoiled brats who think they are above the law. Quite frankly, the rush to vilify the young men is disturbing. This push to lump every incident together just further adds to that gross effect.
Just stop. Take the incidents for what they are; nothing more and nothing less.