Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Learn to Play the Clarett

     Watching the ESPN 30 for 30 episode called "Youngstown Boys" I saw a story that I see almost every day. Kids, like Clarett, grow up in adverse conditions that were not created by themselves or their choices. They are produced by an environment in which they are born. I was raised in the midst of a suburban area of middle to upper middle class families. Doug Gottlieb, of the Doug Gottlieb Show, mentions that kids that grow up in suburbia tend not to understand or have a fire to work hard at life including athletics or if they work hard have an easier route to success. If kids like Clarett are given any way out of their situation or perceived path, whether legal or illegal, will fight hard for success in that direction.

     If you have been watching the news you may have come across the new psychological term affluenza; that gives kids that are of families with means, an excuse for breaking the law. You may have formulated your own opinion. If you have poor families at one extreme, and affluent families on the other then the "excuse" should be applied to both extremes. The same lenience we give the affluent need to be given to the less than affluent in my opinion or the distance between the two will increase.

     I do not know every single detail of what transpired with Clarett and Ohio State University. Even if I watched the documentary I can not get full accounts to make more than a superficial assessment. What I gathered from the film is that the smaller entity was overpowered by a larger entity that had nothing to lose but their reputation. My feeling on educational leadership and educators is that they should always act in a manner that benefits the student or at least does the least amount of harm. If anything an institution that involves shaping young minds should try to act as advocates to the fullest extent possible if there is not significant irreparable damage imposed on the university in serving as that advocate. I saw no lasting damage that would have been done to OSU because of Clarett's situation. What did Ohio State gain by putting the restraints on his student athlete status? Really, the events unfolded the way they unfolded by the natural course of two different cultures not being able come to an understanding that would benefit the person who had the least resources to lose, but unfortunately everything to gain.