The 2015 college football offseason is not much different than any offseason in a major sport. While NCAA guidelines prohibit coaches to have any form of contact with their players other than the strength and conditioning coach, it leaves impressionable 18-22 year-olds at the mercy of constantly making the right choices while the world waits for the next viral video to spread like wildfire.
In the case of Florida State Seminoles quarterback De’Andre Johnson, the video doesn’t leave anything to chance as it is clear the young QB made a terrible choice in judgment as he struck a female at a Tallahassee bar. Our society has long had an unspoken, yet not so unspoken rule that men should never — ever strike a female unless it truly warrants a level of unescapable self-defense.
Johnson clearly was in no danger and could have easily escaped the grasp he was entangled with this young lady. Unfortunately, this is not the first incident of alleged assault against a female as Alabama’s Jonathan Taylor was dismissed earlier this spring after being charged with domestic violence. As of today, Taylor has had these charges dropped and maybe he was the benefit of chance as there was no video evidence to either clear him initially, or outright convict him in the end.
What is true however, is there must be some sort of accountability these athletes have while out of the grasp of their coaches. While it is ultimately up to the athlete to make the correct decisions, with penalties and ramifications so severe — something has to be done to ensure they are monitored better. In addition, a more extensive due process should be done to prevent what happened to Taylor and others who were the victim of a knee-jerk reaction, thus unable to fulfill their athletic desires at their school of choice.
Of course, it is easy to surmise that the company one keeps plays a major role in how things ultimately play out. In the case of Taylor, it is up to him to know whether or not his girlfriend has his best interest or not. This is subjective but unfortunately, these athletes don’t get the chance to decide their fate once word gets out of an unfavorable act being committed.
While the decision to dismiss Johnson was warranted, and definitely the correct one — coaches, administrators, and players have to open the lines of communication to help prevent these matters in the future. The offseason is inevitable, and not having much to keep occupied can be to one’s detriment.
It may just be wise for some of these athletes to lock themselves in their rooms and wait until fall practice begins. That won’t happen, but the thought should get some serious consideration for some.
Is it August yet?