If you thought the circumstances surrounding Braylon Edwards, Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes weren’t scandalous enough, this week yet another alleged scandal has been reported out of the NFL. Brett Favre allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to a former employee of the Jets while he was playing for them.
Meanwhile in college football we have players being paid by agents and Reggie Bush being coerced into giving back his Heisman Trophy for similar reasons.
I mention all of these black eyes of college and professional football for one reason. Local boy and USC starting quarterback Matt Barkley has actually set a good example as a football player.
After the fallout and punishment put in place at USC, it was basically determined that USC would not be eligible for a bowl game for two years, which will be the majority of Barkley’s career at the school. After learning this, Barkley didn’t run for the hills and transfer schools, he stayed. He made a promise to USC and was recruited by Pete Carroll to play there, even though Carroll fled to the NFL.
Loyalty is tricky with some college athletes if they haven’t been at a school for long enough. It’s nice to see that Barkley appreciated the fact that he was courted and recruited to the school, and he’s not shying away from the challenge that’s been put in front of him. Not that playing QB for a top tier school like USC is a drag, and he’s also getting a terrific education, but it’s worth mentioning that Barkley decided to stay and fulfill his duty to the school.
It’s nice to see somebody appreciate the situation they’re in and realize they have a good thing. All too often, professional athletes make it evident that they completely take their situation for granted and stick their foot in their mouth, as Terrell Owens did this week. Owens, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, said regarding his $2 million contract this season, “It’s like playing for free.”
Why don’t you tell the 10% of the country that’s unemployed how you’re upset with your $2 million salary?
The Matt Barkleys of the world are a rare breed, and it’s always nice to feel like these fortunate athletes truly appreciate what they have. I can’t help but remember Latrell Sprewell’s ridiculous quote years back when he was negotiating a new contract. The deal was worth around $27-30 million over three years, but Sprewell thought that figure was insulting and said, “I have a lot at risk here, I got my family to feed.”
Sure, he had previously bought a $1.5 million yacht, but that’s neither here nor there.
With college football generating so much revenue and a growing movement to pay college athletes, it’s refreshing to hear about a kid who is thankful for what he has. I applaud you Matt, and I hope other future collegiate athletes follow in your footsteps.