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08/09/2006: "I Knew Maurice Clarett..A BlackSportsOnline Exclusive"


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I Knew Maurice Clarett..A BlackSportsOnline Exclusive
Written Robert Littal
Email Robert Littal


I knew Maurice Clarett, not knew him like we played Madden every weekend and went to the strip club afterwards, but I know him well enough that if I walked into the jail cell he is in right now, he would recognize me. By now you already know what happen today, the guns, the vodka, the bulletproof vest, the taser and the mace. You have probably seen the video and wondered how someone that seemed to have the world in his hands, has fallen so far, so hard and so quickly. Let me provide you with some answers.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO READ ROBERT LITTAL'S EXCLUSIVE INSIGHT INTO MAURICE CLARETT


To understand how this all started we have to go back to 2001, when I was still a junior at The Ohio State University and a year before Clarett would make his arrival on campus. If you have never lived in Ohio, you cannot understand the passion that these people have for sports and specifically for Ohio State. It is like a religion to them, something that has to be experienced and cannot be expressed in words.

That is the year when people started to hear about the two messiahs of high school athletics Maurice Clarett and Lebron James. Knowing what you know now, you would assume that Lebron was a lot bigger than Clarett, but that wasn’t the case. In fact Clarett in the state of Ohio was far more popular than Lebron at that time. As a high school senior he was already being thought of as the next Archie Griffin. I remember a specific incident when I was in a club in Columbus and a then 17 year Clarett enter the club (a 21 and over club at that) and the music stop and the DJ announced the arrival of:

“THE MAN WHO IS GOING TO LEAD OHIO STATE TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP”.

At 17 years old Clarett was already receiving special treatment. You name it he was provided it, money, cars, women, etc etc. This isn’t unusual for gifted youngsters, but if you were around Clarett like I was from time to time you could see that it was having an effect on him and not in a positive way. He felt entitled, he felt untouchable and he started to believe his own hype. When he finally stepped on the practice field at OSU he snapped at coaches and upperclassmen and no one did anything because he was the savior, as the DJ said he was going to lead the Buckeyes to the National Championship.

I can pinpoint when I knew that things were going to turn out bad for Clarett. It was the day that Lebron James appeared on ESPN for a High School basketball game. That national exposure leapfrogged Lebron over Clarett. You want to know why Clarett wanted to enter the NFL so bad, it was because he wanted to get the shine and love that Lebron was getting.

No one ever told Clarett no to anything and that includes Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. The year that the Buckeyes won the Championship Clarett had so many indiscretions that even those who follow the Buckeye program and know how dirty it is was amazed at the things that he was getting away with. Total insubornation on so many levels against coaching staff and the administration, if he was any other player he would have been kicked off the team and out of the University. He was never disciplined and if anything he was coddled to the point that his belief that he was untouchable only grew greater.

Believe me when I tell you Clarett could have been a great running back. Forget what you saw at the NFL combine, but go back to his freshman year at OSU and what you saw was a powerful back with great hands that never went down on initial contact and had great vision. Once again his problem though was his sense of entitlement because even going back to high school he had a “lazy” label. He never felt like he had to prove anything and he never had the desire to get better, he just assume because he was Maurice Clarett and everyone told him he was great that he was. No matter what you think of Clarett now, the one fact that no one can take away from him is that he was the reason that Ohio State won the national championship. They don’t sniff the championship without him during the season and they lose the game against Miami if he doesn’t strip Sean Taylor after Taylor intercepts a pass.

The worst thing that ever happened to Clarett was winning that National Championship because as soon as he held the trophy Ohio State had maxed out their use for him. Ohio State was the pimp and Clarett was the prostitute and once the prostitute had given them what they wanted, they felt no need to protect him anymore.

This was a shocking revelation to Clarett that when the NCAA started sniffing around that the school put the blame on him, for so long he always had someone taken bullets for him that when it came time to defend himself he didn’t know how. After the National Championship he was an afterthought, he had done his job and people had moved on. Instead of this being a reality check for Clarett it actually made things worst since he surrounded himself with people that were “yes-men” who were only interested in seeing how much money they could get off of him.

When he challenged the NFL Draft Rules I was a big supporter of his, but not because I thought it was good for him, but because I didn’t think it was a good rule. I hoped that he would humble himself go to a D-1AA school grow up and learn that everything in life isn’t handed to you on a silver platter.

It didn’t happen that way though, after being shot down by the courts, Clarett had one last opportunity when he selected in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. At the press conference he was all smiles, telling the media he would do anything even special teams to make the team. At the time I was extremely happy for him even though the majority of the problems he put on himself, he did get jerked around by Ohio State and I thought this would be a great opportunity on a team that is great for a running back, but in retrospect I should have known it was going to turn out bad.

The reason why is simply, since I first heard his name uttered 5 years ago he has felt like he was entitled to be great and what happen in the draft only reinforced what had been his problem for so long. Even though he had been a screw up in high school, a screw up in college, a screw up in the legal system, a screw up with the media, a screw up with the police and a screw up in the NFL Draft process (quitting at the combine after running a slow 40 time) he still got drafted in the first day of the NFL Draft.

Of course he was destine to fail with the Broncos because no lesson had ever been learn, but a pattern had been set. After things didn’t go his way and he wasn’t anointed the starter on the first day, he reverted back to the same Clarett I have known since he was in high school. To show his arrogance or stupidity depending on how you look at, he arrogantly asked for his release for a better opportunity. Of course he thought he was going to get a better opportunity because his whole life no matter how much he screwed up his constantly kept getting opportunities, then something happen to Clarett that never happened before.

NO ONE CALLED

For the first time in his life no one was there to give him that next opportunity, no one was there to tell him how was great he was and no one was there to hold his hand and tell him everything was going to be alright.

I want you to think about this for your minute, for your whole life you have been told that you were the “gifted” one and then one day you wake up and realize you are just like everyone else. You are not special, you are not entitled and you have to work hard just to live a day by day. Imagine what that can do to someone who is not that emotionally stable to begin with.

It is so ironic that he and Lebron have such similar backgrounds growing up and both receive the same adulation as youngsters only to turn out so different. It is shocking how one could turn out so great while the other could turn out so wrong. I am not big into religion, but I am going to pray for Maurice because whatever demons he is dealing with it I hope he is able to exercise them.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into how someone like Clarett can fall so hard, so fast. No one knows what Clarett was intending to do with those guns this morning, but let me tell you that I am glad the police got to him when they did because if they didn’t this story would have had an even more tragic ending.

Replies: 41 Comments

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on Friday, August 25th, JoMO said

Great article. Keep up the good work.

on Friday, August 18th, sis said

Thanks, I'll be sure to go to ESPN.com. I heard about this on the news.

on Friday, August 18th, rob looks like barry bonds said

Aw shit Clarett has ties with the Israeli mobb goot dammmnn.. its on espn.com...

on Friday, August 18th, sis said

To put it in a nut shell! Clarett was involved with some bad people. He didn't know these people were bad. He was told they would help him. They gave him money and he was told to pick out the car he wanted. After things went bad with the NFL they wanted their money back. He was told he would be killed and he was desperate and scared. That's when things went really bad, the robberies began because he was trying to get some of the money back to give to his business associates. When he was caught with the weapons and bullet proof vest it was because he was trying to protect himself. If he had received proper representation he wouldn't be in the situation he is in. But if you do the crime you do the time.

on Friday, August 18th, Andy said

Well done. You have a great sense of cause and effect. As others have pointed out, your grammar will keep you from fulfillment of your own dreams, so work on it. It's hard work, but remember, there's no easy way out for writers either.

on Monday, August 14th, rob looks like barry bonds said

Damn maurice got some ears on him!! Whewwww! Lemme get by yah playa!!! Daamn!

on Monday, August 14th, rob looks like barry bonds said

This article is fire

on Friday, August 11th, Hollywood26 said

Good article as usual. Love your writing style, just hate the typos. Keep doing your thing. Your talent is definitely there. For those complaining about "speculation" remember this is a feature, not a news report. It's a first person narrative.

on Friday, August 11th, Big O said

Clarett is an idiot. dont make any excuses for him he messed now he needs to learn from his mistakes

on Friday, August 11th, 1xbuck said

If you are referring to my reply, I would rather leave out a "you" than leave out "State" when referring to "The Ohio State University". Where in the hell is "The Ohio University"?

on Friday, August 11th, Microsoft Word said

Proof read your writing before you post it. Bad grammer makes you appear like an idiot, regardless if you knew Maurice or not. Poor writing like this doesn't speak well for the students that The Ohio University awards its degrees to.

on Friday, August 11th, 1xbuck said

I must first say that if are a former Ohioan or even a former OSU student you must not have been cognizant of the fanfare occurring in Ohio while Maurice and Lebron were in high school. First and foremost, noone ever called me to come see this freshman runningback play a game as I was told by several friends who had seen the budding greatness of Lebron James. I also didn't drive through inclement weather to Maurice play a game but I did for Lebron when he was a senior in high school. Nor did ESPN televise Maurice's high school games. So don't even suggest Maurice anyone put Maurice on the same level as Lebron. Not in Ohio or anywhere else.

My second point is that you allege OSU was pimping Maurice. Perhaps you should reverse that and say Maurice pimped OSU. As a former runningback at TOSU, I recognized early on that Maurice had some issues. I can understand arrogance and cockiness, but it was the sense of entitlement he constantly exhibited. He used OSU for his purposes and it backfired. He could have not did one thing great after the National Championship Game and he would've been an icon for life in Ohio. However his con was revealed and he will now see what being a con is really like.

on Friday, August 11th, shane said

osu WASN'T "DONE" with Maurice. Every OSU fan would have loved to have more years of Maurice - IF HE WASN'T TROUBLE with a cap T. OSU only was done with him when he started lying and getting into trouble. Who needs that?

on Friday, August 11th, TeeJayindaBurgh said

Very insightful article..At what point in his life, since his shine has faded, does he finally get the help he needs?..Booze and guns are a deadly mix.Maurice is either suicidal, psychotic or both..I'll pray for him for sure....And to the white boy above who called the author "colored boy"..Fuck you!..Two times!

on Friday, August 11th, Ric said

Good read but horrible journalism: uncited and unvalidated references to Ohio State which walks the thin line of libel.

on Friday, August 11th, Raider said

Your article is for the most, is bs. I really doubt you know Maurice. I know Maurice. Maurice brought all this on himself. It was his cocky attitude that got him into the mess he is now. It was his choice to surround himself with the people who he calls friends, that got him in the mess he is now. Ive known Maurice for about 8 years now. When is everyone gonna stop putting the blame on everyone else and start placing the blame where it should be, on Maurice. He is a grown man, he knows right from wrong. Many people have tried helping him, i myself have tried, he didnt want to hear any of it. Its his fault he's in the mess he's in, no one elses.

One of the few things i agree with in your article is that Maurice was jealous of Lebrons new found national success. He was very jealous that Lebron was now bigger in Ohio and everywhere else then he was. He had his chance to become what he always wanted to be. Too bad he let his ego get the best of him.

on Thursday, August 10th, mrgreenpants said

nice idea..
..but the article is poorly written and provides nothing but speculation. I also knew Clarett and his problems are his own doing. I saw a "nice guy"..but self destructive personality that was always searching for a shortcut and lived looking for a handout.

on Thursday, August 10th, the truth said

the difference with lebron and maurice is that every team wanted lebron. he was guarantee #1 draft pick. maurice could had been anywhere but top 5. he wasn't wanted as much as lebron.

on Thursday, August 10th, tonymuzic said

Great article Mr. Littal. This article should be given to every blue chip athelete entering college sports when signing letters of intent. This should be a bold lesson NOt only to these highly touted young atheletes BUT also to the fans, media universities and families whom seem to place the cart before the horse. In the regular media circles you would have never been given an insight such as yours...you would have only heard the tragic end, "How African American atheletes fall"

on Thursday, August 10th, Sean Taylor said

he's a bitch

on Thursday, August 10th, Jim Tressel said

Yeah, we don't tolerate snitches in O$U.... We deal with them accordingly. So to all you recruits, shut your damn mouth, run the damn ball, get money, and get the fuck out my face!!!

on Thursday, August 10th, Sham365 said

Some people just do not know how to live without the aid of others. I bet Maurice would be offended by a real job or lost trying to do it. Sad, sad, sad...and at the end of the day he is just another inmate in a jail full of "coulda beens."

on Thursday, August 10th, Pat said

Great article. It truly is a shame that this had to happen to him, and it is also a shame that this seems to be the only way for him to learn his lesson, but the even bigger shame is, he still hasn't seemed to learn his lesson.

I think another difference between Lebron James and Clarett is the fact that James had the advantage of being able to enter the draft right out of high school, while Clarett had to wait till at least the end of his Jr season in college I believe.

on Thursday, August 10th, Anon said

I liked reading the article but it reads like gossip. Everything is speculation without any hardcore facts to back them up. It sounds like there are some jealously issues bc as we all can see, uve been watching him closely since u were 14. There is nothing wrong with admiring someone. Why else would u observe sp much but it is almost like u were waiting for him to fail

on Thursday, August 10th, STEELSTANDING said

angry, grr GOOD ARTICLE ITS A SHAME THAT AS A YOUNG MAN HE HAS TO LEARN HIS LESSON THE HARD WAY. THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE FOOT TO ASS WHILE HE WAS GROWING UP

on Thursday, August 10th, Positive1 said

Excellent article! I pray Maurice gets the help he needs...he is definitely a troubled young man!

on Thursday, August 10th, J.Shaw said

nice read

on Thursday, August 10th, Grillz said

i am damn near speechless about this. i heard about it yesterday and all i could think was this is the end of the downward spiral that Clarett was headed. i was never really a fan (I thought Chris Perry did better that yr) but to see what how a Heisman Hopeful never even got a chance to play in the Pros is sad.

on Thursday, August 10th, Typical White Man said

pretty good writing for a colored boy

on Thursday, August 10th, maurice clarett said

wtf who the hell is Robert Littal, don't lie to the people i don't know you dawg

on Thursday, August 10th, Royce said

This was a damn good article...

on Thursday, August 10th, ss said

look like he got dat azz whipped

on Wednesday, August 9th, X said

This is on point

on Wednesday, August 9th, Eddie said

it must have been a wild time on the OSU campus back then.

on Wednesday, August 9th, Rich said

this would a good article, you need to be picked up by one of the major sites

on Wednesday, August 9th, MichiganFan said

A Michigan/Broncos fan who was rooting for OSU in that 02 title game, amazed by the difference in the OSU team that year when #13 was and was NOT on the field. Great insight and admission about the "aura" surrounding the Ohio State program and the epitome of that suspicion embodied in Clarett. You never know what you have until it's gone and for Mo, it's long, long gone now.

on Wednesday, August 9th, Frank said

great insight

on Wednesday, August 9th, Vic said

thank you for helping me understand a little bit more. I just thought he was just plum crazy

on Wednesday, August 9th, Ricky Bobby said

it is funny how times have changed. You say 5 years ago he was in the club and you were just a dude in the club, now you are the dude writing about him and he is getting maced by the cops

on Wednesday, August 9th, Big D said

now that is a damn good article the best one I have read about Clarett today. Good sh*t Littal