Youngstown Boys: Our Sports Report’s Take

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Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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For those of you that live under a rock and have no experience with the ESPN 30 for 30 films, they are amazing documentaries about all sorts of sports stories.  Some are controversial, some have nostalgia to them, but all of them are highly entertaining.  To sports fans, 30 for 30 films are the equivalent of the special features section of a DVD (excuse me…Blu Ray), but for sporting events.

Anyhow, the latest of the 30 for 30 documentaries focused its attention around two polarizing figures from Ohio State’s storied history: Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel.  Both individuals fell from grace in one of the biggest athletic programs in the nation.  Both individuals have a story to tell.  In both stories, there is much more than meets the eye.

Admittedly, when I tuned in to watch this film, I was much more interested in Clarett’s story than Tressel’s story.  I followed Tressel’s story very closely while driving around the state of Ohio in a delivery truck and the media seemed to tell all there was to know about the situation.  However, Clarett’s story happened before I became such a diehard Buckeye fan.

All I knew, or thought I knew, about Maurice Clarett was that he was one fine football player, that he became a black eye on the OSU football program, and that now he is trying to piece his life back together.  Honestly, I just wanted more information so that I could fully understand the weight of his situation.  As ESPN laid out detail after detail of the Maurice Clarett story, I got my wish.

All that said, this film confirmed several of the suspicions that I held going in.

  • Ohio State fans over reacted a wee little bit when the crap first hit the fan with Clarett.  Did he seem like an ungrateful little piss ant?  Sure.  But who among us has really acted any differently when we were 18?  Better yet, who among us, if we’re honest, really acts much differently now?  Better yet, how many of us have just won a national title with one of the biggest programs in the country?  It’s safe to say that Clarett’s view of life was a little distorted at the time, but our view would’ve been distorted as well.  Pipe down.
  • Andy Geiger deserves every ounce of hate that Ohio State fans gave him then and continue to give him now.  Geiger is a snake and a coward.  If he wanted people to think differently about him, then he should’ve appeared on the film.
  • Nobody told Clarett no while he was at Ohio State.  The most notable of his collection of “yes men” is his attorney, who seems to still fully believe that Maurice Clarett’s whole situation is someone else’s fault.  You know who was at fault for Clarett’s situation?  Maurice Clarett.  Even Clarett himself said that many times over the course of the film.

Frankly, I was glad to see that Maurice Clarett blames himself for his situation.  I was glad to see that he hadn’t fully fallen for the lies that “yes men” like his attorney and Jim Brown were feeding him.  Frankly, if he still believed those lies, he’d be headed right back down the dangerous road that took him to prison in the first place.

The most encouraging part of this film was seeing Clarett spread his message to prison inmates and troubled kids in an effort to prevent them from making the same mistakes he made.  That right there is proof that he understands his situation completely.

Where will Maurice Clarett end up?  Only time will tell, but I really believe that he is finally headed in the right direction.