The five Ohio State players who violated NCAA rules — DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Boom Herron, Terrelle Pryor, and Solomon Thomas — made statements to the media today. The players apologized and expressed hope that they will be forgiven by their teammates, former players, the Ohio State University, and Buckeye Nation. A video of their statements is available from the Ozone website.
Sports fans tend to be unforgiving types, but I hope that Ohio State fans can find it in themselves to forgive the young men. They broke the rules, they were caught, and they will be punished. Through the statements today, they accepted responsibility for their actions. Their public statements of apology seemed heartfelt to me.
For all of their athletic prowess, these are youngsters who are going through an age that is characterized by lapses in judgment and questionable decision-making. How many people can say, truthfully, that they never engaged in underaged drinking, that they never cut classes, or that they never undertook some other illicit or ill-advised activity when they were college students? How many parents would be willing to write off one of their children as a bad apple because of one transgression of this kind? For that matter, how many adults can say that they have never gotten behind the wheel of a car when they had too much to drink?
College is all about learning, and some of the lessons are learned in the school of hard knocks. The five players have now learned that bad decisions can have very bad consequences. I’m confident that they will not forget that lesson. We can all afford to show them some forgiveness.