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Rooting For Redemption

In case you have not seen it already we want to make sure all of you are aware of a series of articles the Seattle Times is running about the legal problems concerning the 2000 Rose Bowl team. bruinmike88 has already posted a diary on it. John Berkowitz from Washington Sports Blog, who I have a lot of respect for did a post about it this am. Here is John's synopsis of what has been covered in these stories so far (emphasis his):

The stories on the players so far are well written, and they have a familiar ring, and that is the Hedges, Neuheisel, the police, a private attorney who was a UW alum, and the King County Prosecutors office gave these guys the benefit of doubt so they could stay on the playing field longer than they should have.

The first story was about Jerramy Stevens and it absolutely turns the stomach of anyone who reads it. It also is something that was just as well documented eight years ago as it was in yesterdays article. On a side note I always felt Stevens should have been kicked off the team. I always felt Neuheisel made a critical mistake concerning Stevens.

Today's story is about Jeremiah Pharms, and while still interesting it is a rehash of the same information that came out eight years ago. There will be two more stories in the series, and one will feature deceased Husky football star Curtis Williams who had some problems off field before straightening himself out enough to become a star in the UW secondary. Curtis's unfortunate injury and subsequent death has made him a martyr in the eyes of many. The Times will slay that myth later this week.

The timing of the stories just happen to coincide with the end of the 2008 recruiting season, and a bill that will be introduced in the legislature today to provide $150 million in funding to help remodel Husky Stadium. Since this all happened eight years ago the Times, or any other publication could have chosen to run the stories anytime they wanted, but why now?
John (again he is a die hard Washington Husky alum) is skeptical (to say the least) about the timing of this story. Again this is from a Washington Husky blogger (emphasis mine):
I for one question the motives of the Seattle Times concerning the release of these investigative reports. I know they have the right to do it, and the public has the right to know, but after eight years you would think most of this would have been put to bed. I feel the timing of the reports is calculated precisely to prevent state funding for one half of the Husky Stadium remodeling project.

Bob Condotta says to wait till the end of the series to pass judgement. Sorry Bob, the timing is way to suspicious for me to buy that argument.
You have to appreciate his candor and intellectual honesty. There was another interesting response to this story from Sinjin21 on Dohn's blog. Dohn linked up the Seattle Times story and Sinjin21 posted this take on that thread:
Rick Neuheisel made mistakes. He has paid the price for his actions. He took accountability for his actions and worked his way back. Yes, that does not erase his past, but this is his second chance.

RN will also live out his second chance under a very fine microscope. I don't think UCLA will tolerate any more embarrassing scenarios, and I am sure the NCAA will be nearby as well. We can probably agree that unlike the others who have transgressed and were eventually protected by the system, there are many who are just chomping at the bit for RN to fail. Rick Neuheisel has embraced all this. More realistically, he knows this is part of the cards he is dealt with now. Let's see how hard and committed he is to the continued journey to live out his dream and to repair his reputation. From what I have seen, I believe RN will succeed and will be a true champion in the end, and UCLA will compete on the national scene for many years to come.

With regard to the news articles from the Seattle Times, let's make one thing clear. UW had many problems in their program way before RN arrived. There are many involved who need to take responsibility in the case to Jerramy Stevens and all the other students and/or athlete who went off the straight and narrow path. I lived in Seattle for a period of time and I personally root for UW as my second favorite team in the Pac-10. I love the Dawgs. That said, it is time for some within the UW and Seattle community to let go and grow up themselves. It is time to LET GO! It is time to LET GO! It is time to LET GO!

Those in Seattle who are disenchanted most likely fall into either of two camps. One camp being those who know RN is going to win and is fit with jealousy. They know that RN at UCLA is not good news for them. And the other camp consists of those who are standing on entitlement. UW was a dominant and great program in the days of Don James irregardless to what might have happen behind the scenes. (Every program can be found with some faults). Yes, RN was in Seattle for four years, but it is very difficult for one man to break down the good ole boy network and to clean up the underbelly. One man cannot tear down an entire program that quickly. Don't give RN that much credit. UW and Seattle had a broken infrastructure. One coach can take the blame, but should one man take the responsibility for what the entire community neglected to deal with. Just as RN "served" his time to work his way back, it is time for the people of Seattle and UW to do the same for themselves. Most everyone is Seattle looked the other way when things were happening, and they all have to pay the price now.

Be done with all the ENTITLEMENTS, the jealousy, the inability to take responsibility for yourselves. GROW UP!!! Bring up all this stuff about RN now is like two siblings bickering and fighting as adults but retaining all the sillyness and crap that comes with being children. "RN is a bad guy because he stole my hot wheels when I was seven years old." "Why does RN always have to get a second chance, what about me?" "Why does RN get a great new job? He always gets everything. That is not FAIR!" "If UW can't be great again, then RN can't be allow to be great too"

UCLA had to pick itself up from the Handicap scandal. And it is time for those in Seattle to take responsibility for themselves. Is Mike Hunsinger still representing all UW athletes who transgress? Did the police department sift through and clean out all the fat? How has the UW AD faired? My question for UW and the Seattlites is this. "Yes, RN did wrong or showed immature leadership at the coach. And he paid a price personally. He worked hard to get back and is now offered a second chance. When are you (people of Seattle and UW) going to step forward and take responsibility for you own actions? When are you going to step up and be counted? What are you doing to do your part and make a difference in bringing UW back to the National Scene?
Well as for us we are not going to dismiss the relevance of story off hand. This stuff matters.

It is extremely important to us that CRN plays by the rules and gives us a program that we can all be proud of its accomplishments on and off he field.

We believe CRN knows that he is getting once in a life time opportunity of second chance at his alma maters. He knows what kind of players we expect to be recruited at UCLA. He knows if something unseemly happens under his watch here at UCLA, we are not going to look away like some other fans in college football.

We believe he is too smart to blow this and he knows he is in charge of a program where the community rooting for it will demand accountability if there is a concerted pattern of impropriety.

However, that said reading that story one cannot help but wonder why did the Seattle Times wait this long to uncork this story. And it looks like that skepticism is more than warranted since it is also evident in some of the most die hard Husky fans.

We should also note that story also quoted DG out of context making it appear that DG didn't care about CRN's past transgressions when he brought him home to Westwood. One more time here is what DG said when he introduced CRN as the 16th head coach of UCLA's football program:
Said Guerrero: "I looked Rick in the eye, he looked me in the eye, and we conveyed very clearly what our thoughts were. This happened five to 10 years ago and he said he is much wiser and more mature."

Guerrero also said that conversations with officials from the NCAA, the Pacific 10 Conference, Washington and Colorado gave him "comfort" to move forward.

"I hope that he has learned from the difficulties he has encountered previously," Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen said. "I'm convinced he has and I'm convinced he has convinced Dan Guerrero and Chancellor Block of that.

"He comes in like any other coach coming into the conference. He certainly paid a price for his past violations. I would like to think he would recognize UCLA has given him a great opportunity, a chance to get back into college football, and that he would treat it like the very, very precious opportunity that it is."
DG knows and we know that CRN is aware that his legacy at UCLA is in his own hands. All we are doing now is rooting like hell to make sure he comes through and makes us proud by putting together a program in the mold of Coach Howland and John Savage on and off the field.

Is there anything wrong with rooting for a little redemption? Like I said it is up to CRN. We believe he is going to bring our program back the right way and make us proud of his efforts just like we are basking in the efforts of Coach Howland, Savage and other outstanding coaches in our regal athletic program.

Nothing wrong with rooting for redemption.


ps: The Eds. from the Seattle Times should send some tips to those from the LA Times. May be they can let us know if there are colleagues down south will run similar "investigative" series on - oh I don't know - relevant and more fresh stories coming out you know where. GO BRUINS.