Mark Ingram's Best Move This Year

Kevin LindseyAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in one of the closest votes in history.  Ingram is the third sophomore to win the award and the first player in the illustrious history of the Alabama Crimson Tide to take home the prize.

What was Mark Ingram’s best move of the year?

Some people believe it occurred during Ingram’s 246-yard performance against South Carolina in which he took five direct snaps from center on the game’s clinching touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. 

Others believe Ingram’s best move occurred when he accumulated 189 yards and three touchdowns in the SEC Championship against Florida.

Mark Ingram’s best move of the year however may have occurred off the field.

Ingram was famous before he won the Heisman this weekend. 

Ingram is the son of Mark Ingram Sr., a member of two Super Bowl Championship teams.

Mark Ingram Sr. is also infamous.  He is a convicted bank fraud and money laundering felon who will be watching his son play football behind prison bars for several years.

The numbers are undeniable, the numbers show who is clearly number one.  According to The Sentencing Project:

1.      The United States has only five percent of the world’s population, yet it holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners,

2.     As of June 30, 2007, 2,299,116 people are being held behind bars in a federal, state, or local jail. 

3.     Approximately, another five million more Americans are under the supervision of law enforcement as a result of probation or parole.



Why are so many citizens of the greatest democracy on earth incarcerated, on probation or on parole?

Many reasons have been cited:  Poor education, greed, lack of economic opportunities, mandatory sentencing guidelines that have limited the discretion of judges, abusive relationships, criminalizing drug addiction, drug abuse, racial bias, and lack of a stable home life are the most common reasons advanced. 

The answer is not simple; the answer involves some, all and none of the above reasons.  The answer in part involves changing society and in part involves matters solely of personal responsibility.

How productive as a society could we be if we weren’t wasting so many human lives in prison? What could we be accomplishing if we weren’t devoting so many human resources to house people in jail?

An equally difficult question for us as a society is what to do with those individuals who have been incarcerated.  

Too often, we as a society assign such people to the trash heap of humanity making no distinction between those who can be rehabilitated and those who are unable or unwilling to rejoin society.

Rehabilitating and reintegrating people back into society is not an easy dilemma to resolve.

What are we doing about these problems?

The easiest thing for all of us to do when looking at these problems and what many of us too often do is to avert our gaze, turn our backs and focus our attention elsewhere.

In listening to Ingram accept the Heisman Trophy; I was so appreciative of what he had to say on the podium.

There was no doubt that Ingram was going to thank his mother Shonda.  She is widely credited for keeping his head on straight.

Shonda clearly set the example for him that education was important.  When Ingram graduated high school in Flint, Mich.; Shonda was able to take matching cap and gown photos holding her M.S.W. degree from Michigan State[1] .  The love between mother and child was on display and clearly evident.

There was also little doubt that he was going to thank his extended family for supporting him.  There are also probably a few gas stations that should also be thankful for the support given by his extended family to Ingram.

Eight members of the Ingram clan, including his 91 year old grandmother, have piled into two cars during the last two football seasons to make the 13 hour drive from Flint to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to watch Ingram play[2]

No, what was surprising was watching how Ingram so warmly embraced his father.

When asked about his father, Ingram didn’t avert his eyes, walk away or change subjects.  Ingram could have easily denied his father. 

Ingram however looked straight ahead and with emotion in his voice stated, “My father has been a great influence on my life and I love him to death.”

Ingram’s recognition of his father was a small gesture, but Ingram’s words were very important.

Ingram hasn’t made excuses for his father’s actions. Ingram however hasn’t denied his father and hopefully Mark Ingram, Sr. can turn his life around.

Ingram’s game against South Carolina was definitely amazing; personally, I thought it his best game of the year and likely gave him the lead in the Heisman race for most voters. 

Ingram also played very well in the SEC Championship game against Florida, a game that probably solidified his lead.

However, Ingram’s best move of the season was on the podium in New York when he thanked “everyone” who had been an influence in his life.

[1] ‘Bama backbone, Selena Roberts, Nov. 30, 2009.

[2] ‘Bama backbone, Selena Roberts, Nov. 30, 2009.