By Lee Ramsey
Well here we go again; discussing more UT athlete behavior problems.
Last week two University of Tennessee football players, Darren Myles Jr., 19 and Da’Rich Rogers, 19 were arrested for involvement in a severe beating of an off duty police officer outside a bar on Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville. Three other UT players were also involved.
They said they didn’t start it. Wow, that really excuses the fact that they put the man in the hospital in serious condition after kicking him in the head several times.
When is it going to end? The answer is never; not as long as human beings are athletes.
By the way, it doesn’t only happen at UT, it happens at every school across the country. We hear about the Vols’ problems because of home town news, talk shows & local interest. At smaller schools it isn’t news, so you don’t hear about it; but it happens all the time.
In the same week, there were two football players arrested at the University of Georgia in Athens.
The week before that, the Georgia’s Athletic Director was arrested on a DUI and had a female escort with him who wasn’t his wife.
Human beings are always going to mess up in one way or another. It all goes back to their judgment, whether it is good or bad.
Athletes in general are more disciplined than regular students, but they also tend to be more aggressive and intense by nature especially football players.
Another problem is the background some college athletes come from.
They haven’t been taught good judgment by their parents, providing they even have any. Many kids are raised only by their mother or even grandmother. They can only do so much without the leadership of a father.
These same kids are raised in violent, drug dominated neighborhoods. Their cultural environment makes good judgment a difficult thing to learn.
Until you are involved with these kids directly, you really can’t understand. I do because I coached players from that background at one time during my coaching career.
Seymour is a relatively protected community. It is basically a suburban atmosphere with mostly good, sound families. That is why most sports fans in Seymour have a really hard time understanding incidents like this.
With that said, there is still no excuse for uncontrolled behavior. It just helps us understand why.
Coach Dooley should be commended for his swift actions in dismissing Darren Myles from the team even though Myles could have been the starting safety.
Myles was given a second chance after his arrest last April for public drunkenness and resisting arrest.
Understanding why some college athletes display lapses in judgment still doesn’t mean the punishment should be any lighter.
Coaches must make athletes understand that bad behavior will be met with swift and painful consequences. The more intense the punishment, the greater the deterrent in the future – hopefully.
College coaches today are faced with a very difficult dilemma.
Do they recruit players with good character but less athletic ability or do they take a chance on less character and go for the five star recruit?
Of course the objective would be both but usually that isn’t the case.
Most logical people are going to say discipline first. I agree, but just wait until loses become more than wins. Then we will all be calling for the coach’s job.
Thus the coach at a large, high profile, big money school like Tennessee is in a very complicated situation. That is why they are paid the big money. The coach that can juggle the two is the coach that is going to succeed.
Coach Dooley seems to be right on track so far. Only time will tell.
One thing is for sure. Student athlete behavior problems will always be there as a challenge to every college coach.
Very Bad Judgment
By Lee Ramsey