(Guest post via former Notre Dame tight end, Oscar McBride)
It’s been a minute since I last took the time to write. And although there have been many things come across my desk to write about, I couldn’t pass on this opportunity to share some meddled thoughts with you.
So here goes …
Ahhhhhh, Baker Mayfield. Some Sooner fans would go so far as to call him the ‘darling of the NCAA,’ a real American success story. A kid who worked hard and through his efforts, drive and determination earned not only a full athletic scholarship from the University of Oklahoma, but basically willed himself into the starting quarterback position. And now, as a senior, finds himself in the driver’s seat as the front-runner for the coveted Heisman Trophy!
By the numbers Mayfield has gotten better every year, increasing his completion percentage in each of the last three seasons. Up from under 65% as a freshman at Texas Tech, to above 70% as a senior at OU, and currently on track to break his own record of 38 touchdown passes from last season; there’s no question that the dude can play.
However, before we crown him as the best of all time let’s be honest here for a second; Mayfield isn’t the first walk-on to earn a scholarship, ball out and become a collegiate superstar; nor will he be the last. Things like that happen all the time. That’s what we love about college football; the underdog rising from obscurity and becoming the representative voice of the silent majority who can only live vicariously through his on-field successes as they’re glued to their HDTV screens each weekend!
NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND (Lee Corso voice)!
Beyond his on-field accolades, Mr. Mayfield has exhibited behaviors that are eerily similar to Johnny Manziel, and I for one am done with seeing him in front of the camera during his post-game interviews making some form of apology for an incident where he didn’t “make the best choice,” or “use the best judgement” or “got caught up in the moment.” I’m not saying everything he’s done is worthy of the death penalty, but c’mon bro… you know better. You’re the quarterback for one of the most storied football programs of all time. I’m pretty sure you’re more than aware of the multiple cameras on you at all times… and still you have no self-control (we Servites call it Mastery of Self) to look at the ripple effect caused by your selfish actions.
Not following? Lemme ‘splain.
When I speak about the ripple effect I’m speaking of what you see when a rock is tossed into a pool or a calm lake, that creates ripples from one side to the other… in essence those ripples could go on forever right? Let’s take Mayfield’s inability to control himself as an example of the ripple effect. Those decisions impact not only him, but the metal health of the football team, the coaching staff and the entire athletic department and its administration. Additionally, I’m almost certain that the provost, president and executive leadership of OU have fielded a few explicit calls about how his “competitive spirit” is being perceived by the Sooner faithful, so before you know it Mayfield isn’t starting or even a captain for his last home football game. Mayfield’s misplaced competitiveness finally met an unfortunate end with last week’s vulgar ignorance on display for all to see.
Am I being clear?
Here are a couple of questions for those who would think Mayfield’s punishment is too harsh or unsubstantiated. Please try to answer honestly to avoid sounding unreasonable, ok? At what point should Mayfield be held accountable for his actions? His arrest in February didn’t do the trick. I’m guessing public drunkenness, fleeing and resisting arrest wasn’t enough and making inappropriate remarks before the Baylor game wasn’t worthy of a conversation either. Obviously, he isn’t learning anything from the additional face time he’s earning at the podium; when does the university finally stand up and say:
“Yo! We’ve had enough of this dude. We’re tired of the same canned apology at the podium overshadowing the team’s on-field success with a first-year head coach and a Heisman trophy frontrunner who used to be a walk-on! That’s the story we want to hear about… that’s the story that wins the Heisman!!”
In fact, what would you have a university do whose football program has most recently had a highly publicized domestic violence issue in 2015/2016 and follow that up the following season with a Heisman-hopeful quarterback grabbing his crotch and swearing at his opponents on national television in 2017? From where I sit, he’s lucky Lou Holtz isn’t his coach; his collegiate career might well be over.
How about character? How important is what student-athletes/role models do or how they appear while [literally] millions of people are watching? Here… let me answer that one for you. Any number of athletes can run fast and make plays; it takes a special individual to do the right thing even when it’s the unpopular, inconvenient thing for them to do. I’ll take “self-control” for $1000 Alex (pardon the Jeopardy reference couldn’t help myself).
Then there’s the Heisman Race to consider. I don’t get a vote with the committee so you can ponder whether you believe he should be honored with the Heisman Trophy or not which by the way honors;
“the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”
Not my words, those are taken directly from the Heisman Trophy motto (insert thinking-face emoji here). That said, I guess that last part went out the window with OJ, Reggie Bush and Johnny Manziel so I guess the tarnish on the award doesn’t really matter.
Just sayin …
I think we’ve seen this movie before; when an electrifying under-sized playmaker from Texas A&M exploded on the scene. All of the warning signs were there with him as well. We ALL chose to ignore them and we crowned one of the biggest public spectacles as our Heisman Trophy winner and then proceeded to systematically and deliberately destroy him in the media for what we already knew he was capable of. Unfortunately, all movies shouldn’t have a sequel.
I dunno … I guess it makes for good debating material; I mean, I am writing this short article about him, right? Beyond the update we’ll be sure to receive within the next few weeks from our chosen mobile phone manufacturers, I suppose we can also upgrade Baker Mayfield to Johnny Manziel 2.0 … you’ve all been duly warned.
Thanks, Oscar, for another outstanding post!
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming … GO Irish! BEAT Stanford!