usual, my buddy the Hoo Lawyer had a suggestion. We were engaged in an activity
we often do on Friday afternoons, watering at a local tavern. We were
discussing, as usual, the states of our respective schools’ football teams.
The Hoo Lawyer adopted a facial expression that indicated to me that those few
cells still operating in that gin-soaked brain of his were as furiously at work
attempting to formulate a semi-intelligent response to the verbal riposte I had
just delivered, demonstrating again why his decision to confine his legal
practice to the area of real estate and never, ever, get anywhere near a court
room was a wise one.
Draining the last of his cocktail and calling for yet another, he said to me,
“You know what Tech needs?”
Realizing that I was in yet another episode of ‘Hoo Eye For The Hokie Guy’
and that he would tell me no matter my answer, I determined that the path of
least resistance dictated the response of “What?” The answer was quick and
to the point, at least, causing only a few drops of gin to be sprayed from his
mouth onto my glasses as he informed me, “A law school.” He continued,
however, and I bobbed and weaved like Ali in Manila to escape what became a
steady stream as he expounded, informing me that law schools breed lawyers, and
lawyers eventually become judges who just might look favorably upon recalcitrant
athletes that hail from their alma mater.
He used as an example all of those Hoo football and basketball players who
always seem to be the beneficiaries of serious judicial restraint, and the
recent example of Willie Williams receiving the get-tough sentence of probation
for violating probation. This Canes-friendly sentence was handed down by a judge
who happened to be an alumnus of Miami and no doubt has seen his season tickets
at the Orange Bowl upgraded. The Hoo Lawyer might have a point. Now that Tech’s
ACC membership is out of the way, perhaps Dr. Steger can get right on it.
Of course, a better solution would be for Tech athletes to simply cease and
desist from engaging in behavior that causes their names to adorn so many police
blotters. That seems to be difficult, however, as last week’s arrest of Marcus
Vick would indicate. Not for the first time do I ponder exactly what runs
through the minds of young men. I could not figure it out as a father and still
can’t. It is simply inconceivable to me that Marcus would be stupid enough to
engage in the activity for which he is charged. If I was facing thirty days in
the slammer I would be doing a number of things, most involving booking passage
to the Cayman Islands. I can state with a high degree of certainty that I would
not decide to cop some weed and go joyriding down I-64 in excess of 85 MPH. What
was he thinking?
While it is difficult to ascertain the motivations for the behavior of
Marcus, it is fairly easy to determine what he was not thinking about, and that
is the impact that a pattern of self-destructive behavior is having on the
football program at Virginia Tech. Marcus was vital to the planning for this
year’s team that has suffered numerous losses to graduation and early NFL
entry. As the coaching staff scrambles to redefine roles for the '04 Hokies,
another casualty of Marcus’ foolish behavior would seem to be Cory Holt. Bryan
Randall never had the luxury and benefit of a red-shirt year, and it now appears
that Holt will not either. Marcus might be on a personal fast track to the Arena
league, but his actions will produce negative repercussions for the Tech program
through 2008, when it might have been reasonably expected Tech would have in
Holt a fifth-year experienced senior quarterback. Marcus Vick is not doing
himself or his teammates any favors. To place his own well-being at risk is one
thing, but Marcus is also showing a profound disrespect for the Virginia Tech
That disrespect has to be dealt with, and the ‘how’ has become a serious
topic of message board conversation. There has been precious little in the way
of guidance from Tech as a cone of silence has again descended over Jamerson.
Aside from the contrived and goofy statements from the Athletic Director saying
he would not reveal the terms of the punishments handed down to Marcus, Mike
Imoh and Brendan Hill for their previous transgressions unless he did, which
happened shortly after news broke of Marcus’ latest arrest, there has been
precious little public comment from Tech and none from the man in charge of the
football team, Frank Beamer.
While algroh has never met a media outlet he didn’t like and will prattle
on for hours about most anything, as he did following the arrest of wide
receiver Ottawa Anderson, Frank Beamer demonstrates what looks like a profound
distrust of the media. About all you ever hear publicly from Frank are inane and
generic comments such as how he can find very few differences between the JMU
football team and the '72 Dolphins. In crisis situations such as this, Frank
heads straight to ground and virtually disappears. It would seem there could be
some middle ground found between this attitude and that of algroh. The Virginia
Tech fans whose increasingly larger checks are financing the football program
have a right to some comments from the guy who is paid a lot of money to run the
Last Thursday and Friday WDBJ-TV in Roanoke ran a series on its local sports
segments on the spate of arrests that have plagued both Tech and the Hoos. Among
those interviewed were Seth Greenberg, algroh, Debbie Ryan and Craig Littlepage.
Billy Hite spoke for Tech football, as Channel 7’s Steve Mason informed us
that Frank Beamer had refused an interview request or any comment whatsoever.
Those of us who have passionate feelings about Tech football are owed a little
more than that, Frank.
The question arises as to what to do about Marcus Vick. That is the decision
for the Athletic Director and Frank Beamer. In the past Frank has shown a
tolerance for player misbehavior that at times has been positively Bobby
Bowden-like. I have no idea what will happen with Marcus Vick, or even if he
desires to continue to be a member of the Virginia Tech football program. I
would think that, given past actions as a guide, Frank would be inclined to
allow him to remain on the team. If so, it would seem that it is imperative that
some way be found to get Marcus to screw his head on straight.
I have no idea whether money is the root of all evil, but I certainly would
not be averse to determining how sudden wealth might change my behavior. In the
case of Marcus Vick it would seem that the largesse provided by brother Mike has
not had a positive effect. I do not personally know Marcus, or Mike for that
matter. The mental image for me of Mike Vick is that dazzling smile that is
proving so attractive to television marketers. It is a rarity for Mike not to be
wearing that smile. I’m not sure I have ever seen it on the face of Marcus.
There would seem to be some indications that despite the material benefits, he
is not entirely happy being Marcus Vick and carrying that famous name.
Armchair amateur psychoanalysis aside, it would seem that if Marcus Vick is
to remain in the Tech program there have to be some changes made. I wonder if a
good start would not be the money? Mike has at least in part been enabling
Marcus. Perhaps it is time for the cash flow to be cut off - no more Escalade,
no more apartment, no more monthly allowance, no more fake IDs. Maybe if the
conditions of the environment of Marcus were to become more in line with those
experienced by Mike when he was at Tech, perhaps his actions would, too.
And so another arrest has rocked Tech football. Tech fans are forced to
divert time from what should be the exciting anticipation of our first ACC
season to that of more player transgressions. I suppose we could follow the
advice of the Hoo Lawyer and look to start a law school in the hopes of more
lenient sentences. I would rather that Tech not contribute to the country’s
oversupply of lawyers because Tech would not need to. Even as rumors swirl,
please make the latest arrest of Marcus Vick the last one both for him and
anybody else associated with Tech football for a good long time.