If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down. - Mary Pickford
It’s too bad that LeGarrette Blount is not a fugitive French director guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, or granted an Academy Award and millions of dollars. If so, he’d have Hollywood notables such as Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen petitioning for his reinstatement. Whoopi Goldberg would say on national television that he didn’t “punch-punch” Byron Hout.
nstead, LaGarrette Blount is a 22 year old college senior at the University of Oregon whose brief lapse of judgment will most likely cost him millions and a possible NFL career. Needless to say, he’s no Roman Polanski.
It is not my attempt to exonerate Blount. He was wrong for punching Byron Hout. His lack of emotional and physical control was juvenile and embarrassing. But it was forgivable. Blount also apologized publicly following the game at Boise State and personally to both Hout and Boise State coach Chris Petersen.
Fans of college football, critics, journalists and detractors are labeling Blount as a thug, a hoodlum, a ruffian. They point to him as an example of a spoiled student athlete. A blemish on collegiate sports. I disagree. I also find it interesting that no actions were levied on Hout, who clearly goaded Blount after Boise State won the game. Hout also exemplified gross unsportsmanlike conduct. Though Hout only used words, we have no idea what was said.
Blount is guilty of an egregious act. Punching Hout was unsportsmanlike and immature. But Blount is a 22 year old college “kid”. Isn’t college for making mistakes and subsequently learning from them? Isn’t college that four, or five, or six years to complete the maturation process from teenhood to adulthood?
If you’re like me, then you probably double majored in wine and women. You probably made some mistakes that you laugh at now. Maybe you uttered the classic mantra, boys will be boys! Anyone who’s been to enough keggers has probably witnessed a fight or two, or seen a showing of immaturity.
It seems that Blount’s biggest mistake was not punching Hout, but punching Hout on national television. His mistake had the disadvantage of occurring before the ESPN faithful and then being replayed the following days on every sports show across the United States. Throw in youtube and it’s a mistake the world has access to.
Blount was leveled with a season long suspension following the incident. A punishment I deemed, and still do, extreme. However, there is now a possibility of reinstatement for Blount. Yet, the same fans, critics, journalists and detractors are not only against the reinstatement but now question the U of O and coach Chip Kelly. Why?
First, I applaud the university and Chip for keeping him on scholarship. College is intended for education and it’s applaudable that they would allow Blount to finish his studies.
Second, Oregon and Chip’s credibility should not be questioned. If Blount is re-instated, it’s only after strict stipulations and requirements or met. This is not the pacification of a blue chip player by any means.
Third, Chip is acting with the best intentions. If Blount is re-instated, it would be after the USC game. Blount would only be eligible for four games and a bowl game. Call me naive but I believe Chip when he says, “it’s not a football decision, it’s a human being decision”.
Have we become so skeptical of mankind, of sports, that we cannot fathom a coach truly wanting the best for his player?
LaGarrette Blount is missing out on the time of his life, his senior campaign, and his last collegiate hoo-rah. Blount was a once sure NFL draft pick whose football career is now wading in uncertainty. The University of Oregon and the Pac-10 conference should allow Blount to return. They should give Blount another chance to finish his career with a little class. Give him a chance at showmanship.