Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Over/Under On Clarett's Life Expectancy Isn't Good

I don't do the betting thing. I'm not a gambler, and I don't even buy scratch-off lottery tickets at the gas station. But I'm the guy usually standing behind someone making such a purchase -- poetic injustice if I ever saw it. But I digress.

If I had some spare dough, and it was burning a hole in my pocket, I might place the following bet: Maurice Clarett will be dead by age 40. Maybe 35. A higher roller might even take 30.

I don't say that to be maudlin, or for shock value. Just a hunch -- but a hunch like I have a hunch that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Clarett, the former Ohio State running back extraordinaire and 22 years old but with the criminal and emotional wreck history of someone twice his age, was arrested in Ohio yesterday. On his person, authorities found several guns. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. And he was taken into custody not far from where a key witness in his robbery trial resides.

I'm sure you can connect those dots.

The police tried to subdue Clarett with a stun gun, but couldn't due to the vest. So, they went the pepper spray route.

Since his promising 2002 freshman season, Clarett's resume includes the following:

--Suspended for the 2003 season for falsifying a police report
--Dropped out of school
--Sued and lost in an attempt to be eligible for the 2004 NFL Draft
--Drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round in 2005, but cut during the preseason
--Facing trial in an armed robbery case involving a holdup that netted a cell phone

My, we've been busy in the last few years, haven't we?

Clarett is heading down a path that I fear will end in his early and untimely demise. Maybe jail is the safest place for him at this point, and the venue where he can extend his life expectancy. Certainly the streets seem unlikely to provide that safe haven.

But the most difficult person to save a person from is himself. And wherever Maurice Clarett goes, there he is. I wouldn't give you a dirty penny for his chances, right now, at a decent life. And not past the ages mentioned above.

Sometimes people like Clarett are just destined for the Big Sleep before their time. You know the kind; they're the dudes who fall out of the public eye for years, then when the news of their expiration hits the wire services, hardly any of us react with any shock.

The Pistons, in the mid-1960's, had an extremely talented young center named Reggie Harding. Reggie was a Detroit kid. He came to the Pistons when the team used its territorial draft pick, which was an NBA oddity that enabled teams to draft players from their geographical area without fear of them being selected by other NBA teams. It was a rule that was eliminated in 1966 -- they year the Pistons would have, for sure, drafted Cazzie Russell out of Michigan. Instead, they got stuck with a skinny guard from Syracuse named David Bing.

Anyhow, Harding was a player -- when he cared to play. He just didn't always care to. Yet he was still unrefined -- overpowered by experienced centers like Chamberlain, Russell, and the like. But Reggie Harding had immense talent.

He didn't make it with the Pistons, and was eventually cut. Not long after, Harding put on a ski mask and tried to rob a local liquor store with a gun. The store was in Reggie's neighborhood. The owner took one look at the beanpole with the ski mask, and after hearing his voice, said, "Oh come on, Reggie -- what are you doing?"

"I ain't Reggie," Reggie said.

He got arrested.

In 1972, long out of the basketball game, Reggie Harding was on the streets of Detroit. A car pulled up, someone inside called his name, and some words were exchanged. Then someone from inside the car fired a gun into Harding and killed him. He was in his late 20's when he died.

I'd like for someone to tell Maurice Clarett the cautionary tale of Reggie Harding, but I doubt he'd listen.

Hence my bet.

3 comments:

Ozz said...

Without knowing all of the details about how he ended up in this predicament, I'd be willing to guess that he brought it on himself. There's a very good reason why I don't know all of the details. I don't care.

Not to sound cold or harsh or lacking in compassion or anything like that, but all I have to say about his situation is "Oh well". I seriously don't give a fuck.

I'm sure there are degenerates everywhere out there doing the same shit this loser was doing (or was probably about to do), or worse. The only reason people pay attention to this wasted life is because he played football at OSU.

Had it not been for that one season --one fucking season, that's it-- nobody would pay attention to what has transpired. Nobody would've given it a second thought. His name wouldn't be all over the headlines. His name wouldn't be all over the blogs online. You know it, and I know it.

When it comes to the choices we all make in life, either we make the right ones or we don't. Apparently he's not too good at making the right choices. That's his problem, not ours.

Now, can we all get back to doing whatever it was we were doing before this guy had an extra minute tacked on to his "15 minutes of fame"?

Greg Eno said...

Quit beating around the bush, you fence-sitter!

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