Am I mad at the NCAAs ruling? Yes. Does it jive with Marcel Dareus' two games? No. But this is about one person, Adriel Jeremiah Green. My surprise at the ruling yesterday doesn't come close to the depths of my disappointment in AJ.
We thought we knew him. He's the kid that not only makes plays, but then carries himself just as gracefully when he returns to Planet Earth. He's as humble off the field as he is talented on it. But he turned his back on his teammates. He took a calculated risk knowing his coaches trusted his judgment; the same coaches and staff who undoubtedly had warned him of the NCAAs rules. He got caught. And now those players must go on without their 1st string All-SEC wide receiver. Those coaches must gameplan without their greatest weapon.
The fans...? Most are lashing out against the NCAA. Again, I get that. They've made themselves an easy target. As PWD pointed out using Clay Travis' twitter feed, a felony counts as less punishment than something that is legal. But AJ knew the rules. He risked it anyway. He lost. The talented receiver who catches everything thrown his way was caught himself.
We've all made mistakes. God knows I've made plenty. And I've never had mine so publicly played out for the world to digest. But AJs no victim here. I don't feel sorry for him. It was AJ who decided that a few hundred bucks was more important than playing college football. At some point he decided he would defy the rules, and turn his back on the coach who's been there for him for nearly a decade.
Can we win games without AJ Green? Absolutely. We will, in fact. Can we forgive AJ? Certainly, he's still a Dawg. But that doesn't mean he's the one who's been wronged. My point is simply, he's the one who was.