Matt Hayes of The Sporting News isn’t buying what Steve Spurrier is selling. And we’re not talking about his pay-’em-out-of-his-pocket plan.
“Here we go again. He has changed, really he has.
He’s a different man. He has matured, he has developed, he has embraced the moment and the reality that this could be it.
‘One more problem,’ says South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, ‘and he’ll be finished.’
And one more embarrassment for Spurrier, and he’ll be finished.
There’s really no other way to look at South Carolina’s stunning fifth chance for troubled quarterback Stephen Garcia. Five suspensions have come and gone, and at least three times, Spurrier has publicly stated Garcia is down to his last chance.”
Ouch. Hayes then recounts Garcia’s five suspensions. But are we the only ones who see Carolina’s quarterback as an A-1 party boy rather than as a guy facing charges of Murder One?
Public drunkeness as a freshman. Underage drinking as a sophomore. Girls and booze in his room after curfew on a bowl trip.
We’re not talking about threatening to kill a girlfriend, beating someone up, or armed robbery here. He did vandalize a professor’s car as a freshman and we cut him no slack for that bit of punkish behavior. But even his most recent suspension came after a controversial dust-up at a team leadership event. Some say he was way out of line. Some say he was completely in line considering what a guest speaker supposedly said about him at the meeting.
Spurrier has a pretty good track record when it comes to discipline. That track record has been formed over a lot of years. So we think he deserves the benefit of the doubt in Garcia’s case.
Garcia’s errors are Brett Favre-ian. He’s the Jim McMahon of the new millennium. He’s the funky QB who likes his beer a little bit too much. While that’s not exactly the best example for young kids wearing their garnet and black, Garcia is not Lawrence Phillips.
Good athletes — especially quarterbacks — get more chances than scrubs. That’s doubly so when the majority of their transgressions are good ol’ boy type stuff.
Hayes goes so far as to compare Spurrier to Jim Tressel in today’s column. We’re awfully sorry, but if Terrelle Pryor’s biggest sin was having girls in his room and drinking a bit too much, Ohio State would still be in darn good shape today.
Spurrier is getting beaten up over the Garcia situation because he’s an easy target. “Five suspensions” is a good, screaming headline. Nevermind that the five suspensions — for the most part — were brought on by rather typical frat boy behavior.
We’re not excusing Garcia’s poor decision-making. He’s crapped out again and again. But cracking a beer doesn’t equate to armed robbery (Auburn), a cop getting knocked unconscious in a bar fight (Tennessee), a death threat (Florida), etc, etc. So we think it’s a bit much for folks in the media to hammer Spurrier as though he’s allowing Hannibal Lecter back onto his team.