Saturday, April 3, 2010

The New Thug U

Back in the 80's the University of Miami, Florida was tabbed with the nickname Thug U. A well earned nickname, as the football team pretty much took on any player who had talent ... regardless of their past. Stole three cars, robbed a couple convenience stores and punched your mother? Who cares, if you can play football, Miami had a scholarship for you. To Miami's credit, they have shed themselves of the Thug U label, putting an emphasis on not only how a player performs on the field, but how they perform off the field as well. Thug U became a thing of the past.

Well, until Chip Kelly took control (cough) of the University of Oregon's football team. Kelly is a classic enabler, minimizing the severity of the problem and hypocritically supporting the star players on the team while casting off the average players without a paddle. Jamere Holland, a wide receiver for the Ducks, was kicked off the team completely for making a post on his Facebook page criticizing Chip Kelly ... and star QB Jeremiah Masoli was merely suspended for the season, permitted to use his red shirt, and is allowed to practice with the team after breaking into a house and stealing items. Apparently, making a critical post on Facebook is worse than being charged with felony burglary for stealing two laptops and a guitar.

Then we have star RB LaMichael James, choking his ex girlfriend and throwing her to the ground. There is something seriously wrong with a human being that places their hands around another human being's neck and squeezes. What, you ask, was the punishment handed down by Kelly for this outrageous act? If making a derogatory post on Facebook is a reason to kick a player off the team, surely James was to face an execution squad when he walked into Kelly's office. He was suspended for one game, the all important match up against powerhouse New Mexico. Is this a joke? Even better, Defensive End Matt Simms was kicked off the team for fighting a man. So, at Oregon, fighting a man will get you kicked off the team while choking a woman is a one game suspension. Once again, Simms is a nobody and James is a star. The hypocrisy displayed by Chip Kelly is shocking. I wonder if James still gets a one game suspension if he choked Chip Kelly's daughter? With Kelly's track record, my guess is James gets kicked off the team and Masoli is given the one game suspension. He made it very clear he isn't going to kick both of his thug stars off the team.

WR Garrett Emby was an accomplice with Masoli in the burglary. Kicker Rob Beard got drunk, pushed some women, and got beat up so badly he was hospitalized. Kicker Mike Bowlin also got beat up in the same incident while fighting with his fellow kicker. Linebacker Kike Alonso got arrested for drunk driving. It's been quite an offseason for the Ducks. Add all of this to the well publicized on field punch last season from LeGarrette Blount, who followed the punch up with a five minute rampage around the stadium where he challenged a team mate, the police and fans to a fight. Thug U is alive and well, changing locations from the east coast to the west coast.

Chip Kelly and his win at all costs method is a disgrace to the University of Oregon, a disgrace to the Pac 10 and a disgrace to college football in general. If a player plans on screwing up while under Kelly's watch, they better make sure they have the stats to keep them on the team. It's not what you do off the field with Kelly's Ducks, it's what you do on the field that matters. The next Lawrence Phillips and the next Maurice Clarett is going to come from the University of Oregon, you can take that to the bank.