College Athletes And Opting out!!!!!
I usually do write-ups about high school basketball players. Yes, there have been some high school players who have "opted out" of their seasons. They have for the most part because of COVID 19, but some have left early for college. I am going to talk about college athletes and opting out, which for the most part I support. I can think of only one I did not support, and that is because I think the young man was not patient enough with the process. Kentucky fans should know who I'm talking about and will leave it at that. I'll talk about a few situations and what folks should think about with these situations. Here we go:
KELVIN JOSEPH AKA BOSSMAN FAT: Joseph was a redshirt sophomore cornerback at Kentucky. He had transferred from Louisiana State(LSU) after his freshman year. The young man as a redshirt means he's been in college for three years, which makes him eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft. It was his choice whether to stay at Kentucky, or put his name in the NFL Draft. Needless to say, he wanted to sit out the last regular season game and probably the Bowl Game, but still stay on campus and be a part of the team. Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops said no, you either be available to play, or opt out. Joseph chose to opt out and go prepare for the NFL Draft. First of all, I think Coach Stoops was correct in the action he took on the situation. I also think Joseph was thinking business wise about his body and not getting hurt. This point of the season, Kentucky was really not playing for any big prize like the SEC Championship, or the College Football Playoff. If he was to get seriously injured in either of those games, his draft stock would drop like the stock market crash. Kentucky fans were saying he quit. I disagree because millions were on the line for this young man. Ask yourself this question: What is it when most Americans "opt out" of their job for a better paying job? Or for a job where the boss values you more as a person? Are you a quitter? Americans "opt out" of their jobs all the time, it's been like that for at least the last 30 years(estimate). These athletes have to think business wise because no one else is doing it for them. They have to look out for number one especially when millions are on the line.
College coaches "opt out" all the time when they take another coaching job when they still have a contract with the school they left. Is that quitting? Are they a quitter? They teach their players not to quit and stick it out, but they jump their contracts all the time. Hypocrite much? By the way Bossman Fat is projected as a Top 25 pick in NFL Draft according to Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN: https://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2021/insider/story/_/id/30867941/rankings-nfl-draft-2021-top-25-prospects-best-position-mel-kiper-new-big-board.
TERRENCE CLARKE, FRESHMAN BASKETBALL PLAYER AT KENTUCKY: This young man played 6 games healthy, injured his ankle and hobbled through the 7th game vs Louisville on December 26th, 2020. He has not played since and Kentucky fans have speculated he's "faking" the injury. I will say Coach John Calipari may have given some mixed signals about Clarke's injury. I as a former athlete who has injured my ankle multiple times, I can say that every ankle injury is not the same. I had one where I came back after two weeks. I had another one(on the same ankle), that took me a month before I was able to play, move, and cut like normal. I was fortunate because I've known other teammates and athletes that it took two months, three months to get back on the court. Also, the doctor can say the MRI and screenings look good and the ankle is healthy, but the athlete is still in pain and cannot move and cut like normal(Alabama football player Jaylen Waddle anyone?). As for him "faking" it and trying to milk the injury? It would not be to his advantage because he needs to come back and play some games to recover his 2021 NBA Draft stock. The 7 games he played his NBA Draft stock dropped in those games. Terrence Clarke is a smart young man, he would not be stupid enough to opt out when he can recover some of his NBA Draft stock. The Kentucky fans who think he's "faking it" are either stupid, never played a sport, or both. The only one who knows how his ankle feels is Terrence Clarke, no one else, not Coach Cal, not the doctors, not some crack pot fans. This young man is not "opting out" that would not be a good look or good business for him or his brand. I feel that was part of the reason he cried when the doctors said he couldn't play for another 4 weeks. He's projected as a second round pick in the NBA Draft and I think he'll declare and stay in the Draft. One, because coming back and risking being injured again is a big gamble. Two, if he gets picked somewhere from 31-45 in the second round, there's a great chance he makes no less than a million dollars a year. This has happened before at Kentucky with a one and done injured player who's still in the League. That is Jarred Vanderbilt aka Vando: https://www.spotrac.com/nba/minnesota-timberwolves/jarred-vanderbilt-27007/.
These are two different situations, but opting out of a college season is a business decision, it is not quitting. Why is it different when an athlete "opts out", but when a coach does it very few frown upon it? Also, when an athlete "opts out" because of COVID19, that should NEVER be questioned. Americans "opt out" all the time in their regular lives when they switch jobs to move up in their chosen field. These athletes are doing the same thing in that sense. Next time you think to criticize a player for "opting out", look in the mirror and ask yourself if you've done the same in your life? If you have then you're being a hypocrite. Maybe that's what most Americans are? Do tell.