This huge young man of immense talent was a star for the University of Alabama. He wasn’t the biggest star he could have been – after all he played right tackle instead of left, but he gave heart and soul to his team and school and left this past spring as a first round draft choice of the NFL.
He’s also a young man that overcame much adversity on his way from being a Hurricane Katrina refugee to a Mobile high school star to a national champion. And along the way, he could have left early for the NFL, but stayed one more year at Alabama and won one more national title.
So, of course, I was a little disappointed to hear about the recent allegations involving Fluker and an agent and a runner and some cash. Players of all socioeconomic backgrounds play college football and I’m positive they all understand the rules about taking cash from folks like runners for agents. I’m positive they all know it’s wrong. I’m positive Fluker – if this indeed happened – knew it was wrong. If it’s true – he flat out shouldn’t have done it – no matter what his economic situation is.
You may be broke and your school may be profiting millions from you, but you still shouldn’t do it. Your taught to understand it’s against the rules and you shouldn’t do it.
But at the same time, I find it hard to blame Fluker – if he indeed do something wrong. (And that’s a big if.) I say this for two reasons.
First, like most college students, I’m sure he was broke. Again, this doesn’t make it right (again, if he did anything wrong), but after busting your can full-time for your school I could understand wanting a little spending money.
Second, worrying about this goes beyond my perspective as a college football fan. I have a job and a family and obligations all over the place. I have responsibilities and things that eat away at my time (some that I like and some I don’t). But I don’t have a whole lot of hobbies. I don’t golf or hunt or play tennis or junk like that. Church, family and work. That’s pretty much it except for writing a little, running a little and watching some college football.
I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time or the appetite to worry about my team cheating or some player taking money. I hope they don’t or haven’t and I certainly don’t condone it, but I’m not in the mood to worry about it.
So today, here’s a reminder for myself. It’s September and it’s Saturday, so the Tide is probably playing. I’m going to plop on the couch around 2:30 and listen to Verne and Gary and sulk, stew, holler, moan and shout for the next three or four hours. And when it’s over, hopefully I haven’t cussed too much or hollered so loud the neighbors hear. Win or lose, it’s just a game – albeit a game involving the Alabama Crimson Tide – and Monday, good Lord willing, I’ll be back at the salt mine.