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An Apology Letter To College Football Coaches

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Dealing with problem players comes with the territory of being a head college football coach like Mike Gundy who is dealing with the arrest of running back Devon Thomas. It's time someone apologizes on these players behalf. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.
Dealing with problem players comes with the territory of being a head college football coach like Mike Gundy who is dealing with the arrest of running back Devon Thomas. It's time someone apologizes on these players behalf. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images.

Dear Coach,

I screwed up.

Big time.

Do you remember that meeting our athletic director held for the all student athletes? The one where he said, “Students, spring break is right around the corner. I want you to have fun, just don’t get caught doing anything bad?” At least that’s what I think he said, but to be honest, I was stoned at the time.  Well, I did my best to not get caught, but sometimes, to quote my role model Forrest Gump...ahem..."Stuff...happens."

The weed I was trying to sell the undercover police officer — yes the five pounds — wasn’t what it looked like. I was helping out a friend, but the police didn’t understand. I even explained that I was on the football team, but that didn’t seem to help like it usually does with my teachers.

I wish that was the only mistake I had to report, but sadly, there are others. Take a seat if you haven’t already.

When the police officer tried to arrest me I got a little carried away. The death threats and the head-butting were a grave error on my part and I would like to sincerely apologize for that. No officer should be subjected to such harsh words and actions. I fully understand his reasons for using a Taser and am glad he did. I wasn’t to able cause anyone, or myself, any further harm.

Sometimes things get out of hand. One minute, you’re hanging out with friends and the next, you’ve got a gun in your hand threatening to “bust a cap.” The words just flow out before you can even stop them.

Maybe it has something to do with who raised us. When you see your father and brother in and out of trouble, you think that’s how you’re supposed to live. A word of advice — as if I’m in any position to offer advice, be more diligent on background checks before you bring a recruit in. I paid a kid in my stats class to do some research. According to the New York Office of Children and Family Services, a 2008 study found 66 percent of juvenile delinquents were rearrested within 24 months of their initial release.

Those are pretty staggering numbers and they are similar across the country. California has a 76 percent rearrest rate, Maryland is at 72 percent, Texas at 63 percent and Virginia matches Maryland. We don’t seem to learn from our mistakes.

This is no excuse (as if there is an excuse for any of this anyway), but the NFL players we look up to and try to emulate on the field are setting a bad example. Too many of us see our favorite players driving drunk or toting a gun and we think, "Yeah, that’s a good idea." We also learn from those who come before us, but they aren’t setting a good example either. They are supposed to introduce us to the program and the playbook, not to crime.

We’re young so cut us some slack. Everyone makes mistakes. We still have this crazy idea that we’re invincible and can get away with anything. TPing a house or robbery —- they seem so innocent and fun, until someone gets hurt. Or caught.

I hate to have to bring this up, but this might not entirely be on my shoulders. Ever heard of an enabler? Basically, it’s someone who gives you the means to do something. Now I’m not saying you put the gun in my hand, but when you turn a blind eye and keep me on the team, how am I supposed to learn that what I did wrong has consequences? You should focus more on our well-being than on your win-loss record. Again, this wouldn’t be as hard if you laid down ground rules and actually stuck to them, or avoided bringing in problem players in the first place.

One final thing, the indecent exposure allegations…they are completely true. Again, I am sorry.  In the immortal words of George Costanza: “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell ya’, I’ve got to plead ignorance on this thing.”

Sincerely,

Your Troubled Player

P.S. Can you call a bail bondsman? I’m not cut out for prison.