Don’t Let the Dream Die, Baby

Two pieces of news to digest today:

* Alabama cornerback Geno Smith will be suspended for the Virginia Tech game following his DUI arrest (plus he’ll have to do some other stuff); and

* And former Auburn defensive back Demetruce McNeal is his taking his football talents to the University of West Alabama.

Both of these situations are fairly thought provoking.

Though Geno Smith is an “excellent person” and all around good guy, some will rightly bring up the severity of his alleged crime: operating an automobile while legally intoxicated – an act that could have caused serious injury or death to himself, his passengers or to other innocent parties.  This is a very serious – though all too often dealt with – crime and we expect serious ramifications.

So does a one game suspension, plus some “in house” stuff, fit the bill in terms of punishment?  To tell you the truth, I dunno.  My fall back position is to say that Nick Saban knows more about the situation than we do and I would expect him to deal out an appropriate punishment.  Is missing the Virginia Tech game, but being able to play against Johnny Football appropriate?  Again, I dunno.  We don’t know what the internal punishment entails (surely it’s more than riding around with a police officer or writing his name on the board 100 times) and we don’t know for sure if he will start upon his return.

Therefore, we must look at this situation with some perspective and over a period of time.  If this type of behavior persists and Saban’s version of punishment doesn’t stifle the problems, I think we then know the answer.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn dealt out his own punishment this week when he hit the eject button on defensive back Demetruce McNeal.  But we should not hang our heads, because his dream is still alive following his transfer to West Alabama.  Though some would argue that sitting around on the couch smoking hooch isn’t that big of a deal – especially compared to a DUI – it’s comforting to know that being busted for drugs – or, heck, even possibly some recreational use of the drug, will not slow down his dream.   Actually, I’m not sure what the dream is, but it’s still there.  It could be to play his senior year or to play in the NFL or to have a quiet place to smoke pot – we can only have our own dreams at this point, but his dream is still alive.

Yes, yes, a bit of sarcasm, but all of this seems a bit ridiculous.  Arrested for drug possession on a Saturday and you find a place that will accept your transfer by Tuesday.  That’s not exactly a lot of soul searching time in between.  And what does it say about a school – Division II or not – that will accept a student that had so much trouble executing college live at his previous school?  To be honest, I don’t think it says much.

Should McNeal be able to play again?  Certainly.  I have no problem with that.  And at some point, it’s certainly ok for Smith to play again.  But I would hope that each of these players – er, humans, would be able to experience the blessing of learning from these mistakes and not just be another cog in the machine.




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