We’re all guilty of letting first a impression lead us secondly to jump to a conclusion without considering there may be more to a story than which we’re aware.
What I only loosely refer to as the media these days--that term has morphed into something completely different from when I first got into the business--leads us to the brink more often than not. To the contrary, I learned early in the business that the worst thing you can do is assume anything.
But it’s understandable that the popular theory was that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops decided to sever ties with freshman receiver Josh Jarboe only after he was counseled by others--namely OU prez David Boren and/or AD Joe Castiglione.
In part, that was a logical assumption because the day before Stoops appeared to have defended Jarboe’s rap video laced with profanity and talk of shooting people basically on his First Amendment-right. This of course after Jarboe’s two felony gun possession charges were reduced to misdemeanors by a Georgia judge under a first-offender provision who then decreed probation and community service just punishment.
Let’s just say that my educated guess--after some counsel of my own--is just the opposite. That Stoops made the decision on his own after a long night of self-debate.
Now neither I nor anyone else was there as Stoops wrestled with the problem. But I think I know a little something about this man who keeps private counsel. And a little about coach-player-family relationships.
On one hand, Stoops juggled a belief that Jarboe was a redeemable young man. One who would eventually benefit by a change of environment, daily supervision and peer pressure to adhere to a code of team ethics. Think. Stoops had to believe that or he wouldn’t have stood by Jarboe in May, keeping the scholarship door open. OU can find guys to catch passes.
And through the recruiting process, Stoops had built a relationship with the young man and his mother. The decision to let him go in hopes this would be truly a life-changing experience could not have been an easy one, knowing this alternative could be a push in the wrong direction. How would you like to be the one to have called Jarboe’s mother?
But Stoops, like most all coaches, has been down this road before. He knows the long-range implications of both standing by a player and/or deciding that tough love is often the only alternative. You all know the names from the past, and the near-present. Go back no farther than last January when he sent starting defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger home from the Fiesta Bowl--on the bus, no less--after he was picked up for shoplifting. This despite the fact that three other starters were out for one reason or the other.
Given Stoops’ track record of making decisions that proved to be correct in most of these cases, it is an insult to him to assume he couldn’t figure out on his own that the program’s integrity--despite personal feelings--was the overriding factor. And it would be insulting on the part of either Boren or Castiglione to suppose that he couldn’t.
The best supervisors hire good people, get out of the way and let them do their job. Once again, Stoops did his.--Mike Jones.