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Thursday, July 19, 2007

West Virginia University: Culpable for Pacman?

As certain athletes are vilified in the press for their behavior, and the public is repulsed by the "entitled" attitude perceived from many athletes; we wonder who is responsible?

Certainly, these guys don't arrive to the NFL as humble, well-behaved individuals, only to allow the fame and fortune to go to their heads and develop a feeling of entitlement. Forgetting that they have a responsibility to themselves and to their teams.

That entitlement and feeling of a right to special treatment has to be fostered somewhere along the way.

And it is: In college, at the institutions that are supposed to be providing these young men with educations and helping them expand their world view.

West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez, who has dismissed criticism of his program based on the behavior of former Mountaineers Adam "Pac-Man" Jones and Chris Henry, supports the NFL's new policy and believes it will have a positive effect. "It is ridiculous people are still calling us about a couple of guys who we have no control over," Rodriguez said. "I mean, are people calling USC to ask about O.J. Simpson? How can you blame us for guys who we haven't talked with in years?

We may be wrong, but didn't Pacman have a misunderstanding or two while at WVU? And didn't WVU essentially do nothing about?

Certainly, despite Mr. Rodriguez desire to wash his hands of Pacman because he is no longer a member of the football team at WVU, one can't help but feel that the environment of that team played a key role in the development of Pacman Jones. Is it even arguable that Pacman's sense of self and the attitude of entitlement was stoked in that environment? That is was a learned behavior? That, moving forward with that learned behavior and adding millions of dollars to the equation may have been just the very formula that has led to the situation in which Mr. Jones now finds himself?

Mr. Rodriguez can dismiss the criticism to his heart's content, but he can't escape the effect he and his program had on Mr. Jones. Nor can he escape the fact that his program, as an extension of the university, failed to provide Mr. Jones with the type of education and self awareness experience necessary for Mr. Jones to move into the workforce and society equipped with the tools to succeed.

The gratuitous and completely irrelevant mention of OJ Simpson further fingers Mr. Rodriguez as either being oblivious or completely unconcerned with his own (and the university at which he is employed) responsibility in this. To compare a player that had issues at WVU and was coddled along so he could stay on the field, with a man who was charged with murdering his wife 30 years after a college career without incident is a most heinous juxtaposition.

The only commonality between Pacman and OJ...that neither has been convicted (as yet).

We hear the media and some fans say that players like Jones must be held accountable. That personal responsibility is what these athletes lack.

Well, if the institutions and individuals that unleash these athletes into the NFL prefer to "dismiss criticism", rather than acknowledge the role they played in the personal development of the athletes; how can we even expect the athletes to have any concept of personal responsibility?

We recruit quality kids who are quality students and we go to great lengths to make sure those are the kind of players we recruit and we've had very few problems. "There are bad apples but not nearly as many as some people would have you believe."

This, from the man who is bringing linebacker Pat Lazaar to WVU. Lazaar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery for his role in a robbery of a store and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a 10-year suspended sentence and three years probation. And previously received 90 days of court supervision for using a stolen credit card to purchase $130 sneakers.

So next time you see a young athlete acting with an air of entitlement and a lack of personal responsibility, consider where he learned the behavior.

Rodriguez should receive the same suspension Pacman has.


Anonymous said...

I find it sad that he latches on to OJ as his first example. What, was Matt Leinart too hard to pronounce? Sad day at WVU, sirs.

Andrew said...

I find the article well-written, however, the main idea...perhaps it's me, but what's Rich Rodriguez getting banned for a season from the NFL helping to prove?

Dave the Wave said...

...or pacman is a douchnozzle and should be in jail.

but, whatever.

Illegal Immigrant said...

None of this is new, it's all part of the circle jerk sports culture. Ofcourse, once you leave one circle for another, and get in trouble doing so, it's as if the first circle never knew you and forgot about all the times they cleaned up after your mess.

ben said...

if OJ was just 2 years removed from USC, then hell yes people would have been calling!

Also, OJ brutally murdered 2 people with a f*&^%$g knife. Pac Man just made an ass of himself, and told a hanger-on to shoot others...

Ray Lewis might be a better example... I remember the U getting a few pot-shots lobbed its way back then.

Nathan said...

Pacman didn't deserve his suspension. He should be innocent until proven guilty. But seriously, why should a university be blamed? Why should anyone but Jones be held responsible for Jone's own actions? How will that kind of thinking teach anyone anything about the kind of person they need to be? Athletes get special treatment. Always have. Always will.

runninonmt said...

NOISb, couldn't disagree w/ you more. Regardless of the situation, or person, the statute of limitations on being repsonsible for someone else's behavior stops at the age of 18. While realistically many parents and/or institutions still influence people past this age, each of us are responsible for our own selves. Of course any of us would feel terrible (or should) if someone we were charged w/ caring for became embroiled in a conflict, and we should acknowledge a potential failure on our part in helping mold this individual, but you shouldn't start down the slippery slope of saying we/they are an accomplice, which is essentially what is being implied by suggesting Rodriguez should have an equal punishment. Many of us have sob stories relating to our past, and I have yet to find the perfect parent and/or role model, but we can't continue to blame others for our actions. Be a man <....blah, blah, blah...>

Malcom Hex said...

"which is essentially what is being implied by suggesting Rodriguez should have an equal punishment"

i took it different...seemed like nois wasn't implying that rodriguez should be suspended b/c he was the college coach of Pacman...seemed more like the implication was that rodriguez claims he does his due diligence and brings in quality kids with good backgrounds...then goes and brings in a kid with a record like Lazaar...

censored said...

Again, nice job finding a few examples and posting them as the rule rather than the exception. How many athletes graduate WVU in a year and how many end up as a moral lowlife such as Pacman? You found a couple of cases nice job. By the time you are 18 you are a man and should be responsible for cant teach an old dog new tricks...unless you are michael vick...then you can teach them to beat the hell out of each other.

Steven A's Cheese Doodles said...

" By the time you are 18 you are a man"

you're over 18, and based on your racist mind one is ever gonna call YOU a man. so, as usual, your attempted "point" is moot.

Robert said...

Any blog which opines Vick the Dick should be given a break because he is a black athlete, and then follows it up with another about his school (environment) being the more culpable party, is run by the immoral black minority.

So... would someone direct to the entry which blamed OJ's legal fees on that ignorant white bitch? TIA