May 11, 2003

More than three years ago, Clemson tailback Javis Austin put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.: Now, nearly blind but a college graduate, the former prep star tells the story of his suicide attempt, his recovery and his bitterness toward Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, who demoted Austin from his starting job. Nice piece of writing by Bob Gillespie of The State.

posted by thescoop to football at 07:50 PM - 3 comments

Good link. Now this may appear at little harsh but he seems a bit of a drama queen. He gets dropped from his college football team and decides to blow his brains out? "Knowing his competitive nature, Javis is going to be successful whatever he does," Really? Well maybe he should have tried competing to get his place in the team back. Players get dropped all the time and to not be able to accept it and fight back does not strike me as the reaction of a "competitor". It doesn't sound to me as if he was cut out to be a professional sportsman. Still, good luck to the bloke.

posted by squealy at 04:51 AM on May 12

Tough to take a side on this one. I don't have a lot of sympathy for a kid who shoots himself because he's not playing, but then, we're talking about someone who saw football as his ticket to take care of his family. Perhaps two things should have happened: 1) Bowden and his staff had to have some idea what was going on with Austin. If they did and they ignored it, they're assholes. If they didn't, they're lousy coaches. Holding players at arm's length? I hope every potential Clemson football recruit reads that carefully. 2) Who let him think football was the only way? Austin came from a single-parent household, but didn't his mom ever tell him there are other things besides the game? What about his high-school coaches? It sounds like he was set up to fail. It also sounds like the kid's now on the right path. I hope everything works out for him, and maybe he'll be able to tell other athletes that football is serious business ... but not that serious.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:15 AM on May 12

In defense of college coaching staffs, you've got roughly 100 players divided by nine or 10 coaches. Between practice, film study, recruiting and the other shit that these guys do, holding players at arm's-length is pretty much what happens. Unless someone speaks up, no one's going to know what's going on. Of course, it's another example of how college coaches hide behind their role as "teachers" when very little of that is going on. In fact, it's basically guys not good enough or too insecure to make it in the NFL. For a lot of players, it's not just the meal ticket, it's also an identity. You need to get into a club? Someone's giving you their place in line. You're ugly and without personality? Chicks will step to you, regardless. You can't get the grades? You're admitted anyway. That's even before you see the money NFL players make. So you could have all the coaches, mentors, priests, and mommas in the world, and it's not going to blot out the unmistakable impression that your place on this world depends on this stupid ball. That said, I'm glad that he got it figured it out.

posted by jackhererra at 10:43 AM on May 12

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