It can be argued – and has been by many – that college football has become bigger than the universities it represents. The sport brings in millions of dollars every year, especially in the power conferences like the SEC, ACC, Big 10 and PAC 12.
College football players are considered amateur athletes, and as such are not paid to play. Although, they receive many benefits including a college education through scholarships; they are well-trained in facilities that are state of the art. Players receive counseling and career guidance and support that the average college student may not.
So when we hear about misdeeds by popular college athletes, it makes the news and is great fodder for sports talk shows. And when there are criminal actions involved, we anxiously await the outcome. Will the accused players be treated like you or I would be treated? Or better yet – like our son or daughter would be treated in the same situation?
Such is the case for two University of Alabama football players. Star sophomore players, Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones were arrested in May at a park in Monroe, Louisiana. Authorities say they found two guns – one stolen, and a bag of marijuana in the car.
While there may be perfectly good explanations for these findings at 2:00 in the morning, and with the assumption of innocence until guilt is proven, here is the kicker: A Louisiana District Attorney has dropped weapons and drugs charges against the two players – because he doesn’t want to “ruin their lives”.
It is difficult to fathom how this has happened. If you’re found in a park at 2:00 in the morning with two weapons and a bag of marijuana – are you going to be allowed to walk away from criminal charges because it might ruin your life? Most likely not.
DA, Jerry Jones says he found insufficient evidence to prosecute them. He told a local Louisiana TV station that he didn’t want to affect the potential careers that Robinson and Jones have built in football.
“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years working and sweating while we were in the air conditioning,” Jones said.
What do you think about this decision? Granted Nick Saban will have his own punishment for the two players, but essentially, they are walking away free.