Even though I was on vacation having a great time in North Carolina (thanks Bunny and Dad), I felt like I had to voice my opinion about Georgia's former star running back Isaiah Crowell. When the news first came out, I thought: "What a bonehead." It's not because of the wasted talent and the loss of the potential of millions of dollars as a future top NFL prospect; it has more to do with all the good he could have done as a role model.
This is sad, but not really surprising, considering. It seems like Isiah Crowell was always in trouble while wearing the red and black. Because of failing a drug test and an undisclosed violation, Crowell missed the first quarter of the Vanderbilt and the New Mexico State games. Then we can't forget how he limped off the field as he got booed by the Georgia faithful during the 42-10 thumping by LSU in the SEC Championship game. Granted, he had been playing with a hurt ankle. But how much of the "get me off the field coach, I can't do it anymore" was caused by being shut down by the Tigers' defense?
But now he has some serious issues hanging over his head: One charge for having a gun in a car in a school zone, and the other for having a gun with an altered serial number. All this happened at 2:20 in the morning. I guess my father-in-law is right: nothing good happens after midnight.
He came out of high school as the ESPN No. 1 running back in the nation and the No. 4 overall prospect. In the LeBron James fashion of "I'm taking my talents to South Beach," Crowell showed his flamboyance in front of the the media when he pulled out a white bulldog puppy to announce his decision while wearing an Alabama-crimson colored tie.
But the biggest thing is that he backed his actions. He showed that he was as advertised with his ability to accelerate in the open field while having the power to break through the front line and break tackles.
He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, averaging almost five yards per carry. Crowell rushed for 850 yards on 185 touches and five touchdowns.
I think that UGA head football coach Mark Richt did what was best for the Bulldogs football program, the school and Crowell by kicking him off the team. If I were in the coach's shoes, I would hope that Isaiah would use this time to reflect on life without football and put his priorities in perspective.
He had the chance to show those young fans that sat in the stands and in front of the TVs what good could come out of staying in school, making the right decisions and working hard. Instead, he lost all credibility.
Sitting out could have been good for him. Not only could it have been an opportunity for Isaiah to figure out his life, but it could also have been used to show the youth that followed him that there are consequences for your actions.
But no, instead Alabama State welcomes him with open arms. What does this show Isaiah and the young people that look up to him?
If he's like any of the other student-athletes, he usually got away with his behavior in school because of being a star player. Not that he wasn't punished for misbehaving, but his punishment was probably less harsh or given by the coaches to keep him out of the justice system. My wife, Meg, who has been teaching middle school for more than 15 years, has a lot of examples where bad behavior has been allowed and no one came out the winner.I bet that somehow these felony charges will be reduced to misdemeanors once again, allowing him to get away from taking responsibilities for his actions. At some point, we need to make an example out of a "superstar" for their actions.For too long, society has said we can't be too harsh on others because we don't know about their upbringing or their situation in life. All this coddling is doing nothing but making us a nation of excuse-makers. We need to make everyone accountable for their behavior and let them face the consequences. Back in the mid-'70s there was a show called "Baretta." The theme song had a line in it that said "don't do the crime if you can't do the time." Those rules applied to everyone back then the way they should today.
Manny Fils is a sports writer for The Citizen. Fils can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.