Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Talent is not sanctity

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The legal troubles that have plagued Maurice Clarett since he was Ohio State's star running back worsened Wednesday when a highway chase ended with police using pepper spray on him and finding four loaded guns in his sport utility vehicle.

I mean - wow.
He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and a traffic violation after police say he wove in and out of lanes, did a U-turn on a freeway and refused to leave the SUV after a spike stick flattened its tires. More charges are possible, police said.

So, after seeing the bubble top light up and hearing the sirens, he ran, forced the cops to use the spike strip on his car, and then refused to exit the vehicle. This is not surprising, since he'd stashed one of his guns underneath him and leaving the car meant leaving the thing sitting on the seat in plain view. But did he really expect that the police would just let him sit there after all of this?

This is the standout item - my emphasis.
Police attempted to shock Clarett with a stun gun but the former Fiesta Bowl standout was wearing a bulletproof vest that rendered it ineffective, Columbus police Sgt. Michael Woods said.

Later it's said that Claret had been receiving death threats: OK, wear the vest. I can even see maybe possibly thinking that anyone lining you up for a hit would impersonate cops, thus the running... but it just stretches credibility to the breaking point in light of his previous troubles. I also observe that his attorney says that previous legal wrangles have been giving him mental stress. (Mmmmm-hm.) How is legal trouble more stressful than a death threat - especially a threat that has you wandering the streets armed like an action hero? Did he think to tell the police he'd been menaced?
He plans to play for the Mahoning Valley Hitmen, one of five teams in the Eastern Indoor Football League. The team, based in Youngstown, is to begin play in January. ... Clarett has not signed a contract with the team yet, pending a fire marshal's inspection of the team's home field.

Of course Mahoning's owner/coach is standing by his man, and getting more publicity than the entire league has ever seen, though he may be regretting the scrutiny right about now. But for Clarett, college national champion and one-time sure thing?

He's a better athlete than I am, but on another level he and I are peers - young single men, not quite established in the world of adults, faced with the same choices as to our conduct. He has resources that I and thousands of other anonymous young men lack, which gives him opportunity that we can only dream of. Resources, however, are not going to make good choices for you. Every one of us has the same moral landscape in front of us: either we submit to the cycle of fatherlessness, poverty, and crime; or marry the mothers of our children and give our families a stable home and a fighting chance.

It's encouraging that Clarett was not too proud to take the football equivalent of a lunchpail job in a league so low on the food chain that nobody's heard of it. Maybe this shows he can get right and realize that there is more riding on him than just his future as a running back.

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