Originally posted on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 10/13/13
One of the major stories recently emanating out of the college football world concerned the absence of DE Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina’s game versus Kentucky and his head coach’s Steve Spurrier’s subsequent press conference regarding Clowney. In the press conference, Spurrier addressed a reporter’s question about Clowney’s absence in a very evident disgruntled manner. Spurrier claimed that Clowney told him that he “did not want” to play due to injured ribs he had suffered. The clear implication for outside observers was that Clowney was fully capable of playing if he had opted to, but it was ultimately Clowney’s decision on his own to sideline himself for this past weekend’s game. The Spurrier press conference has universally sparked a debate across the country concerning an apparent rift between Clowney and Spurrier and about which side is right in the matter. Intensifying the matter and ramping up the intrigue around it concerns the fact that Clowney is universally considered a lock for an early first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Heading in to the season this year, a ceaseless debate had raged on for many months concerning whether or not Clowney should simply sit out his junior season altogether. The prevailing feeling among proponents of him skipping the season was that playing this year could wind up being detrimental to him, given the likelihood of his being picked first overall next year and of the potential for injury to occur from him playing. Clowney sitting out the Kentucky game has reignited that debate. His decision to not play is understandable to outsiders; he does not want to jeopardize his NFL prospects in any way whatsoever with a further injury. Conversely, Spurrier’s angst can be understood as well in this matter; his interests justifiably lie primarily with his team, and having his undisputed best player sideline himself significantly downgrades his team. Both Spurrier and Clowney can be understood in their respective stances concerning Clowney’s decision not to play. Spurrier is justifiably frustrated that his team subtracts its undisputed best game-changing player. On the other hand, Clowney can be understood in this issue as well. He is a surefire first-round pick who simply does not want to adversely impact or to jeopardize his standing with a further injury. No views yet
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