You’re Killing Me Smalls!

Photo by Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports/http://www.usatoday.com

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Well ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t heard by now, former Ohio State receiver Ray Small is back in the headlines again.  Fox first reported that Ray Small was indicted on drug trafficking and gun charges and possibly faces over thirty years in prison as a result.

This is nothing new with Small.  He was constantly in the news during his time at Ohio State for various things, including drugs.  Tressel gave him second chance after second chance and Small continually screwed it up.  Is there really any surprise here?  This is a classic case of how the “yes man” can completely screw up the athlete.  Look at what Ray’s father said when Tressel suspended him for one of the many times he violated team rules, “They’re intentionally trying to blow his career.”  He was also convinced that Tressel “had it in” for his son.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about sticking up for your kids, heaven knows my dad stood up for me many times when I was in school.  But bottom line, when I screwed up, he made sure I took whatever punishment the school dished out for me.  He didn’t blame the school and say that they had it in for me.  He knew that I could be a little turd and that I would become a much bigger turd if I wasn’t made to face the music a time or two.

This situation with Ray Small is no different.  It’s pretty clear that Small was never made to face the music…well…anywhere.  I’m not at all suggesting that Ken Small is culpable for any of his son’s crimes or stupid actions (just like Urban Meyer is not to blame for any of Aaron Hernandez’s alleged crimes), because the choice to do those things were made by Ray Small.  What I am saying is that it appears as though Ray Small was never made to face consequences for bad decisions…until now.

Most Buckeye fans disowned Ray Small after he blew the lid off of the “Tat-gate” scandal, which ended the Tressel era at Ohio State.  The sad part is, if Small had been able to just moderately keep himself out of trouble and keep his mouth shut, the city of Columbus would’ve embraced him the way they have every other former Buckeye great.  It’s no secret that when Ohio State gives you an athletic scholarship, they are handing you an opportunity to change your life for the better.  I’m just sorry to see a player with that much talent throw all of that opportunity away.

The problem is, when all the “yes men” constantly stick up for you, you usually don’t have to face the music until it’s too late to change your life around.  I think Tressel genuinely recognized that this guy was on a path headed to nowhere.  I think it’s also pretty clear that Tressel tried to help Small turn his life around and get on the right path.  But it is also abundantly clear that no matter how much you try to help a guy out, it still comes down to them taking the initiative to do it themselves.  The only person to blame for Ray Small’s situation is Ray Small.  Unfortunately, at this point it seems pretty certain that Ray Small will be wearing a number for many years to come; the problem is that the number won’t be #4 or #82.