When running back LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the season by Oregon’s Chip Kelly, the first-year head coach was lauded with praise for sticking to his guns and setting an example for his players. Now Kelly has decided that Blount can come back if he meets certain “conditions” for reinstatement.
Let’s be clear, Blount wasn’t suspended for the season because he dropped Boise State’s Byron Hout. He was suspended for what he did afterward. He went after teammates, fans, security guards and the local police who tried to restrain him. If Blount had just punched Hout then been escorted quietly away, maybe he sits a month and comes back. But his subsequent actions were an embarrassment to his university, family, fans, coaches and college football as a whole.
Originally the story was that Blount had been completely remorseful for his actions and Kelly thought he had earned a shot at reinstatement. Now word has come down that Blount’s family hired a lawyer to lobby for his reinstatement just days after his suspension.
Within hours of the Boise State game, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay was telling anyone who’d listen that NFL executives had told him that Blount had gone from a possible first-day draft pick to basically undraftable.
So, of course Blount is sorry for what he did. The senior realized that because of his reprehensible actions, he may never get to play football again. He went from a guy looking at a future of financial stability and a dream career to a future pumping gas.
I’m all for people getting second chances, but this was like Blount’s fifth chance.
Blount was suspended for the first quarter of the Cal game last season for “not following team rules.” He was suspended after the end of the 2008 season for missing a number of workouts. Then former coach Mike Bellotti suspended him from the team indefinitely on February 10th for “Failure to fulfill team obligations.” Apparently Blount responded well to the suspension as he improved his attendance in both academic and athletic obligations (so he’s done this “I’m remorseful” bit before). Blount was then reinstated by Chip Kelly in March.
So Blount and Kelly have both done this suspension-reinstatement dance before. The running back has been suspended four times in less than a year. FOUR TIMES! He’s had all of those chances to make good and failed every time. He deserved his year-long suspension.
Now that Kelly (who seems like a fine fell0w) has reneged on that rule, how are we ever supposed to believe him again?
What is more likely, that Kelly actually believes Blount deserves another shot, or that he now believe his team (4-1, 2-0) has a great chance at a Pac-10 title and the Ducks are better with Blount than without. As a head coach Kelly may feel he owes it to his team to give it the best chance to win.
The news of Blount’s possible reinstatement came just after the Ducks blew out Cal at home, putting the Ducks in the Pac-10 driver’s seat and USC has to come up to Autzen Stadium.
This whole thing just looks shady and had Kelly stuck to his guns no one could have questioned his motives or decision. Now we can.