I have received several comments as to my posts on Pat Lazear and the “Smoothie King Incident.” Some printable, most not – all from Whitman “Faithful”. One in particular that I received was from a young man who identified himself only as a “current whitman student”. I have written the post below in response to his comment but it really is for everyone.
current whitman student:
I appreciate your comments regarding this entirely regrettable situation which several of your former classmates/ team mates were involved. It is clear that Robert Warren had a troubled past and even his behavior at Whitman was not exemplary.
I don’t believe anyone is excusing Mr. Warren for his involvement in the Smoothie King robbery or that Pat Lazear had some magical power over Mr. Warren that forced to commit this crime.
But the real point that is being missed by so many people is that Pat Lazear made a choice to be involved with people like Mr. Warren and commit acts like the Smoothie King robbery. Where were his parents, his coaches or his teachers to steer him clear of this kind of stuff?
Pat Lazear is a gifted athlete with an unlimited potential ahead of him. He had his choice of colleges to attend, at no cost, and the opportunity to get one of the best educations in the country. If athletics did not lead to a career after college for him he would have had the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the world any subject he chose. And he could have used that knowledge along with the potential public notoriety he would have gained from playing sports in college to work anywhere he wanted. The golden path lay before him. He knew it. His parents knew it. His coaches knew it. His teachers knew it. Even his friends, like you, knew it.
But he was allowed to throw it all away because nobody ever sat him down and told him, “No.” And why would they? He was this great athlete who if allowed to play in that next game, or wrestle that next match would bring glory and honor to his family, his team, his school. His parents wouldn’t have to pay for college, his coach might win a state championship and get a better spot somewhere else, and people associated with Whitman could walk around saying they knew Pat when he tackled 3 guys by himself.
And no one can say there were no warning signs. He was convicted of using a stolen credit card only 17 months before the Smoothie King incident. He served 90 days court supervised probation for it. This is not some little transgression. One of the many Whitman “Faithful” who have written to me about Mr. Warren said that he, too, was convicted of using a stolen credit card. I am assuming they committed that crime together? Or maybe it is a coincidence. Either way, if my kid was caught with another kid committing a crime, it is the last time my kid would be seen with that kid. Especially a kid who has a checkered past like Mr. Warren.
If Mr. Warren’s behavior at wrestling matches was as bad as you say, how could the coaches not steer Pat away from him? I know that some people believe that too many parents look to the schools to raise their kids. And I am not advocating this. What I am saying is that when a teacher or coach has the rare opportunity to have a student athlete like Pat Lazear, they should help him to see right from wrong, help keep bad influences away that might side track him. Keep him focused on what he needs to do, and not do, to succeed. Be an example, be a mentor, be an educator. Don’t just turn the other way when they do something wrong or begin hanging out with the wrong crowd because it might upset your star and you won’t be able to ride the gravy train. Do what is right for him.
I am glad so many people support Pat. He is going to need it. But where was everyone when he was making these choices?