Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Don't Crucify Reddick

J.J. Reddick was arrested for driving while impaired early Tuesday, story on MSNBC Reddick Arrested for Drunken Driving. Critics and heretics have descended upon Durham, Duke, & Reddick complete with lit torches and wood with which to build the fire and burn him at the stake. The cries of anguish are heard across America.

His career is ruined. He's given Duke another black eye. His spot in the upcoming NBA draft is jeopardized. Yada Yada Yada.

Oh grow up. Reddick is a college student celebrating graduation not unlike thousands upon thousands before him. I remember kids in my high school senior class who drank to celebrate the end of school. Some of them had never drank before and I dare say some never drank since. It just kills me that we are ready to crucify someone who has been nothing short of a model student and athlete because they make a mistake.

It wasn't that long ago that Michael Phelps found himself in the same pickle, but America was quick to forgive because he was one of our Olympians and God forbid his accomplishments be tarnished. But Reddick hails from Duke... the elite school of the South that people naturally love to hate. Even though evidence against the Duke Lacrosse team is sketchy and circumstantial at best, there are many who want it to be true simply because they hate Duke. Shame on you.

For the record, I am not a Duke fan. I am a Virginia fan, tried and true. I am also not a big fan of Mike Krzyzewski, but I respect him as a coach and the way he is standing by Reddick. I am however a fan of Reddick. I have not enjoyed watching a player more in college basketball since the days of Michael Jordan at North Carolina. He plays with a relentless passion for the game few others have. I can't wait for him to prove the NBA scouts wrong who think he is too small.

And lest we forget... we're talking about his career in the NBA folks. Ethics, c'mon, give me a break. This is a league constantly tarnished by a bunch of overpaid babies who throw temper tantrums, incite brawls, and have been arrested for just about every offense you can imagine. I hardly think Reddick's arrest makes a splash in the great scheme of things.

So to JJ, I say hold your head up high. You have made the right first step by admitting your mistake. Face it like a man, learn from it, and put it behind you. Actually I'm secretly hoping everyone passes on you, except of course the Charlotte Bobcats. I would love to see you continue playing basketball in North Carolina.


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