by Deborah “DJ” Johnson
On Monday morning I was sitting in a restaurant having breakfast with my oldest son, Jay [Richardson], when we got the news that Coach Tressel had resigned. Immediately, Jay sent out a tweet of prayer and support for the man who helped him to grow up. I was deeply saddened over the news.
It wasn’t long before the barrage of negative press gained steam and took over as the top story of the week. I have had to listen to former loyal fans joined the bandwagon of people who are now vilifying the man they once revered. Did I miss something? I find it very interesting that people with no son on the team, no connection to NCAA sports besides a season ticket or a couch in front of a flat screen on game day are now judge and jury and calling for Coach Tressel’s execution. They are now adding the athletic director and university president to their list of people who should be fired. SERIOUSLY!!!
I have heard people in the supermarket giving their opinions about what should be done and how disgraceful this has been. Many have said “I KNOW there is even more to this story.” Well, they are absolutely right, there is a lot more to this story. Unfortunately, it is not going to be printed on the front page of any major publication nor will it be “breaking news” during primetime.
For those of you who have not heard this story (I am sure there is at least one person who has been on an expedition to Antarctica and hadn’t heard the story), I will give you the Cliff Notes version. Five Ohio State Players were suspended for 5 games for getting discounts on tattoos in exchange for giving autographed OSU memorabilia. A few others sold some of their gifts from OSU before they were given clarity on the fact that they could not sell even a gift that was theirs (including championship rings or gold pants charms) in exchange for money or services. Interestingly, this all came out before a bowl game and the NCAA allowed the players to play. It is no secret that millions of dollars would have been lost if the players were not going to be in the game. These are things that make you go HMMM…
My son was in Coach Tressel’s first recruiting class. I have had the joy of watching him lead him and the other team members. I have seen him take time to ensure that family came first. He taught them that there is more to life than football and took the time during every team meeting to teach them principles to live by. I am the co-founder of the Football Parents Association at Ohio State. Coach Tressel worked long hours with the OSU Compliance Office to make sure we were not doing anything that would violate rules and we felt like part of the team. I have seen him stress community service and respect for fans.
The media continues to make a big deal about how Coach Tressel should have known what was going on with his players (all 105 of them) at all times–REALLY? I only have three children and I can tell you I am still learning about things they did when they were teens. It wasn’t until I read my son’s English paper that I learned he had put a hole in the basement wall and then covered it up and we live in the same house!
Were rules broken by the Coach? It appears that they were. Were they so heinous as to deserve this level of negative press?—ABSOLUTELY NOT! Let those without sin cast the first stone. This incident cannot hold a candle to all the love and care I have seen Coach Tressel show his players. I have watched him nurture players until they got it right. I have seen him give a player time to grow up rather that kick him off the team. I have watched him see about team players in crisis—including one who is now paralyzed. I have seen him lead the charge to help a player’s family who lost their home during Hurricane Katrina.
I will sorely miss Coach Tressel and I am appreciative for all he has done. I have heard it once said “people love a success story but hate successful people”. The haters are now having a field day with this story.
Before you judge this too harshly, take the time to find out the other side of the story. We don’t always get it right as a parent but we do what we think is best for our children.