Today, I get my normal news alerts, and I see a new AP story about Colgate RB Jordan Scott, courtesy of the International Herald Tribune. If you're a follower of the Patriot League and specifically of Colgate, you already know most of the story: in the offseason, he was arrested for burglary in an on-campus incident. He spent time in jail, served his suspension from the team (for one game), and as far as I was concerned, that was the end of it.
Until I read this:
Maybe Scott simply wanted to prove something because of that off-the-field mistake. He's had to deal with some of the content on the Lehigh Football Nation blog, where various entries said Scott was a stalker, that people didn't like him on campus, that he was a jerk once to a little kid, that he got a free pass on his bad behavior because of his athletic ability.I nearly choked.
In the blink of an eye, Scott, a native of Hyattsville, Md., has gone from football star to blogosphere criminal.
This season hasn't been as easy as he's made it look. At Fordham in September, Scott heard shouts of "jailbird" more than once during warmups.
"I was expecting that," said Scott, who responded by rushing for a career-high 272 yards to set a Colgate record for most yards in two consecutive games (511). "All that stuff my mom and I talked about. We knew I would have to address it. I expect to get it from Lehigh, too."
Fans out there have said a lot of things on the variety of message boards, and in the comments section of my blog. However, I said no such things.
The blog entry in question that was referenced in the AP article is linked here, and the "entries" that the writer is mentioning in here came from the (anonymous) comment section, where anonymous posters have gone back and forth for months with rumors and innuendo about this incident and Mr. Scott's past and present behavior on campus.
I don't vouch for the truth or falsity of these comments. I just didn't write them.
Let's just be very, very clear about what I said about Mr. Scott in this posting:
If the incident is indeed "minor" as was relayed to me, one would hope that Scott would be able to pass through the boards and be allowed to play again next year. Coach Biddle, of course, will have the final say on that.
You never wish something like this on any school and especially to Scott, whom I met last year at Patriot League Media Day. Everyone should hope that this is indeed a minor incident and that Scott will be playing next year for the Raiders.
It looks like coach Biddle and Colgate's administration are doing the correct things here. I just feel sorry for Scott and Morgan, who appear to have allowed a horrible lapse in judgment to endanger their football careers and possibly their college diplomas.
And being the good blogger that I am, I also followed up on this huge Patriot League story later:
I am no a legal expert by any stretch, but 21 days in jail seems like a long time to me considering their crime was a misdemeanor (not to mention one year of probation). I don't know the answer to this, but I wonder - how many other folks are spending that much hard time on that specific charge? Not many, I'd bet.
Coach Biddle seems be a stand-up guy who has firm control of his team. His kids persist and his kids graduate as Colgate's APR numbers show. The Raiders haven't had a culture of disciplinary problems in his tenure as head football coach, which will enter its 12th year in 2008. As a matter of fact, Biddle seems to run a pretty tight ship as far as I can tell.
Coach Biddle has had a history of doing right by athletes. He personally told RB Jamaal Branch to take a year off to figure out his life before Branch returned to the team in 2003 to lead the Raiders to the I-AA National Championship game. That to me doesn't sound like a guy who is out there to win at all costs. In that situation, he could have easily lost their best player.
My instincts are to give coach Biddle the benefit of the doubt in this situation. He has been at Colgate an awful long time and (to me) developed a reputation as a coach in good standing ethically - and I say this as a Lehigh fan.
I think coach Biddle suggested the punishment he thought best, in regards to his view of the circumstances and without regard to Colgate's football chances in 2008. I think he's earned that much.
I think these actual blog postings should say a lot. Far from portraying a single-minded obsession with trying to bring an athlete down, I think it shows a balanced picture of the entire situation. As any regular reader of this blog would probably know, I've always tried to do that.
I'm a bit of a homer for Lehigh (imagine that) and I do like to tweak a nose or two sometimes in previewing the games, but it's generally all good natured fun. When it comes to stuff that's important like a young man's life, I hardly get involved in hysteria business.
And looking at the comments from that follow-up post, I think most fans seem to agree:
Nicely put and fair and balanced. Nice to see that someone who is by no means a Raider fan, as I am, can be rational and just in their opinion. Too much hysteria and stupidity on some of these chat boards.
Alot of truly false and negative things have been said on these lehigh message boards. This is by far the fairest.
The AP implying that I personally said Scott was a "stalker", got a "free pass because of his athletic ability" and was "mean to other kids on campus" was, in my opinion, irresponsible to the highest degree since it flies in the face with the facts, which I've reprinted here for everyone's reading enjoyment.
As for Scott, if he chooses to take my blog postings as a reason for motivation to do well against Lehigh, that's his prerogative. But if he does, I would hope that it's more towards the many folks that have posted anonymously here and on message boards, not me.
I have absolutely no ill will towards him. He's the best Patriot League running back I've ever seen. I only wish him well.
Well, maybe not against Lehigh, but I think you know what I mean.