Category Archives: Ohio State Football

Lazear & West Virginia

From Sunday, Feb. 18th in the Washinton Post: 

Lazear Signs With West Virginia

Smoothie King Robbery Had Dissuaded Other Schools

Ok.  Good for him.  But, bad for West Virginia. 

West Virginia has always been one of the schools that had the bad fortune of being located in a state that was the butt of jokes dealing with incest, rednecks and overall low IQ’s.  I have often felt the school has gotten a bum rap and  that their engineering and business management programs have never gotten the full recognition they deserve because of the reputation of the State they share a name with.

It has been guilt by association.

Being the quality school that The Univeristy of West Virginia is, I thought they would have avoided Pat.    Having worked hard to separate themselves from the stereotype of West Virginia, I really am surprised.

But I think I get it.  If you are going to viewed like those that people associate you with, why not associate with the best?  Ohio State University with it’s successful Felon Rehab Program ….I’m sorry… Football Team, and many other schools of the like, you can now add West Virginia to the list.  And isn’t that great company to be in.

WVU you have made a mistake.  Pat Lazear hasn’t proven he deserves a chance at college football or a free college education, yet.  The only remorse he has shown is that he got caught and that it has impacted his ability to play football in college. 

If West Virginia wants to sign him, fine.  Maybe their program is strict enough to straighten him out and help him learn what it means to be a productive member of society.  But he shouldn’t get a free ride and take the opportunity of a college education away from another student who played by the rules and avoided hurting others.

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“The Whitman 5”: Who is to Blame?

Dear mm and mmm:

I have read the comments you have left on my blog and I appreciate you both taking the time to share these.

Whitman is a very good school with high SATs and preparing students for some of the best colleges in the country.  No question about it.

But Whitman, like any other high school, is not perfect nor will it, or any other high school, ever be.  However, Whitman has some real problems right now that go beyond what is wrong at “most high schools”.

While I realize you two are probably in the majority about your feelings for Pat Lazear and the others and whether they committed the crime or not, the minority has been very vocal  and I and others who publicly condemned or questioned those involved in this situation have been subjected to some of the most vulgar, dim witted, unreasonable and threatening messages from the minority.

Now, you both express concern about my claim that the teachers, coaches and administration should be held accountable for Pat and the other’s actions.  I can understand how you might disagree based upon the type of person Robert Warren is/was and your own descriptions of the others, but if the coaches EVER said anything to them about their behavior and the student didn’t listen, did they EVER take further action?  In other words did Wallich or Wetzel EVER make them miss a game or a match because of their behavior?  Did Magathan or Goodwin EVER step in and use their authority?  I’ll be honest that I don’t know the answer but I have a pretty good idea that it is “NO”.

Look at the incident from this past spring at Duke and the Duke Lacrosse Coach.  Did he have anything  to do directly with the alleged rapes?  No.  But he lost his job anyway because the program he ran was so loosely monitored that the team was allowed to behave in a way that they could be put in a position to be accused of rape and commit other acts which reflected poorly on the team and the University.

I have been involved in dialogue in the past with Coach Wetzel about the demeanor of some of his wrestlers and never once did he ever say they could or should have acted with more respect.  Instead he defended their behavior as being “special athletes” who work hard and “deserve everything they can take”.  I don’t think you have to look much further to see there is a problem brewing.

You both say you knew these five guys.  Did you ever tell them to quit being idiots or did you just laugh at their antics?  Peer pressure can go a long way.  I am sure you know of kids at your school over the years who have broken a rule and gotten caught like drinking under age and not been punished because of some talent they have.   Do you think that is fair?  And if they get away with that or see someone similar to them get away with it, then what makes you or them think they can’t away with something more serious.  Something like, well….I don’t know…maybe….ARMED ROBBERY?

As long everyone just looks the other way and doesn’t ask questions it will continue.

Yes, these guys have been through a lot and to be honest it will only get worse as time goes on.  That comes with notoriety and fame.  If Pat Lazear and the others want all the benefits of being a star or hanging out with a star, then they have to take all the criticism, too.  And the blind “Whitman Faithful” who support them have to learn to live with it, too.  If Pat Lazear had taken Whitman to states I am sure no one would be complaining about an article in the paper talking about what a great athlete he was. 

I am sorry your school has had to take this much heat.  But maybe if you, your friends, and all of your parents would put some pressure on the school to stop this kind of behavior before it reaches this level then maybe people could focus on the good things about Whitman and not just what these five kids did.

Ultimately Pat Lazear and the others are responsible for the choices they made.   Their parents also probably carry some of the blame for not doing something earlier (Remember , there were warning signs in the form of credit card fraud).

But PLEASE do not be so naive to think that the at least one teacher, coach or administrator couldn’t have had some influence on at least one of these kids.  If not directly, then indirectly by the way they responded to negative behavior.

More On, “Are You Really Surprised?”

Since I posted my last Blog “Are You Really Surprised”, I have seen other articles which make some very valid and interesting points regarding Pat Lazear and the preferential treatment of athletes.

 Christine Brennan in The USA Today had an article entitled, Colleges, society flunking prep stars’ inflated sense of self-worth”.  She makes an excellent point when she talks about her attempts to reach the Athletic Directors of Ohio State and Alabama, two of the colleges still recruiting Lazear:

“Had they gotten in touch, I would have asked a simple question, something along these lines: What in the world are you thinking?”

Just as I would want to ask Lazear what he was thinking when he got in the car that night and drove to the Smoothie King.  But unfortunately, I am afraid Lazear doesn’t think – or at least he doesn’t feel he has to think about anything but himself and football.  Not his role in society, not other’s rights, etc.

When asked about the impact this is having on him, did he talk about a life lesson learned, did he apologize for a youthful mistake or even recognize that what he did was wrong?  Instead, as he told The Washington Post about his criminal charges: “If this drags on … it might mess up getting to school and getting started with football.”

He is right about that.  But I think he is missing the point.

But, let me address a comment left by a Michael Goulding in response to my Blog.  He is upset that Robert Warren’s “several prior convictions including possession of firearm, discharge of firearm in an urban area, burglaries and thefts,” but this wasn’t reported in the The Washington Post article, “All-Met Linebacker Said To Be Robbery Ringleader” 

As Mr. Gundling points out, the past history of Mr. Warren would be good to know before passing judgement.

In fairness then, I think I should let you know that Pat Lazear was previously convicted  for the use of a stolen credit card to buy a $130 pair of sneakers in November 2004 — and the ensuing 90 days of court supervision.

From your comments it appears you may not be aware of this.

As Judge Joseph A. Dugan Jr. said at Lazear’s hearing his track record contradicted the depiction of many of the people who testified to his character.

“Ten months later, not only is that all forgotten, but you’re involved in a robbery with a dangerous weapon,” Dugan said while delivering his verdict.

Is that fair enough for you Mr. Goulding?

Actually, let me say this.  The point isn’t really about Pat Lazear or Robert Warren or any individual student.  The point is the administration and coaches at Walt Whitman High School need to be looked at very closely.

I am sorry that your “golden boy” Pat Lazear is in trouble and has possibly ruined his future.  I am sorry that people have , as you call it, “piled on”.  But the truth is there are problems at Walt Whitman and if people like you would stop long enough to notice the bigger picture you might see what I am talking about.  Then maybe you will use your energy and your email skills to attack the real problem.

Dr. Alan S. Goodwin, Principal should resign

David H. Magathan Jr,  Athletic Director should resign.

Eric Wallich, Varsity Football coach should resign.

Andy Wetzel, Asst. Athletic Director/Varsity Wrestling coach and former assistant football coach should resign.