After a couple of days laughing at Maurice Clarett's expense, I admit I've begun to feel some remorse. My initial reaction to his latest arrest was joy -- after all, the events of that early morning mirrored that of Grand Theft Auto or Training Day. I couldn't (or didn't) recognize the distinction between entertainment and a real man's real sad life. After all, I experienced the game, the movie, and the arrest on the same medium. The line was blurry.
Thinking about it in greater detail, I've come to realize how sad this occurence really is. Yes, Clarett's actions are foolish at best, but children rarely envision themselves developing into the type of character we see in a mugshot. Up until the end of Clarett's freshman year at college, he thought that carrying a football better than most would be his identity, the skill that made him valuable to the rest of the world. Without that, what has he been left with? Growing up poor, kids develop a severe inferiority complex. Clarett was never given the tools to overcome this, and he began to value the wrong things, believing they were what would make him worthy in the nation's eyes.
This fine piece of writing at Sportszilla further emphasizes this point. Definitely worth reading. Pro athletes are humans, they're not here for us to exorcise our insecurities on. Just because someone is a superior athlete doesn't make them infallible. By the way, it seems tasteless of ESPN to milk every second of air time possible out of what has occured. After all, ESPN is a sports network, and as they've made abundantly clear over the last few days, Clarett has nothing to do with sports anymore. I understand it's their job to report a story, but a little bit of sensationalist discretion wouldn't hurt. Anyway, check out the Sportszilla piece. It might make you think differently of the whole situation.