Criticize Terrelle Pryor but Don’t Blame Him
At the end of the Arkansas and Ohio State Sugar Bowl in January, we were left to debate if Terrelle Pryor could be a legitimate challenge to Andrew Luck for the 2012 Heisman Trophy. Fast forward to today and we’re left to debate if Terrelle Pryor could be a legitimate challenge to the NFL, possibly in a courtroom before a football field.
In leaving Ohio State, Pryor leaves himself to unfairly shoulder the blame that will surely be heaped upon his young shoulders. Make no mistake, this is not an attempt to build up pity for Pryor. If any of the ongoing investigations of Pryor’s rumored hot wheel collection are found to be true, then any criticism levied is well deserved.
Pryor’s decision to leave Ohio State can very well be viewed as a plea of no contest to the litany of accusations so go ahead and criticize away. What you or anyone else shouldn’t do is place blame, at least not solely on Pryor. You see, there is a thick line between criticism and blame.
Terrelle Pryor made a commitment to Ohio State to play football. Jim Tressel and Ohio State made a commitment to Pryor and his family to usher him through college into adulthood. Neither side completed their promise, but with each Ohio State breaking news alert, it becomes more apparent that Tressel and Ohio State never started on their end of the agreement.
Surely Tressel and the Ohio State athletic department knew that the vultures would surround the wagon, a wagon attached to the number one overall ranked recruit of 2008 at that. Even worse, Tressel and the Ohio State athletic department should’ve been vigilant of those vultures because Columbus and more specifically Ohio State are their domain.
The same teammates who were aware of Pryor’s off field activities and penchant for paper plates before the storm apparently have a disdain for him now. Why wait until the media whirlwind to shed light? Where were the upperclassmen to steer Pryor from wrong?
There hasn’t been one report of an instance where a teammate pulled Pryor to the side or asked him to keep a lower profile. It makes you wonder if the reason it wasn’t addressed is because it’s the norm in Columbus. Maurice Clarrett said something of this sort years ago, yet it was met with a deaf ear because of the source.
“Are Pryor’s teammates upset because of what he was doing or because he was caught” will hover as one of those unanswered questions that usually accompany such a circumstance.
By leaving school, Pryor frees himself from any liability to the NCAA and the investigation that’s sure to come. That decision in itself looms larger an act to benefit the school than anything Tressel has done since word spread of tattoo-gate prior to the Sugar Bowl.
Pryor stated that he was foregoing his senior year in the best interests of his teammates. Regardless of reason, that was clearly the most responsible move made by anyone concerning Ohio State football this year.
So marks the end for Terrelle Pryor, one time a Buckeye beloved now a Buckeye scapegoat.