This week both Leonard Fournette of LSU and Christina McCaffrey of Stanford both decided to skip their teams bowl game. Many people have come out with differing opinions, but most say that they are wrong for leaving before the true last game of the season. One of my favorite college football journalists is Joel Klatt, not only because he is a former Buff (#SkoBuffs) but because he is exactly right and open with his thoughts, and this is his newest one.
Even one of the newest NFL stars had a take on both of these college stars skipping the game. Ezekiel Elliot had these takes on Twitter when hearing about what McCaffrey and Fournette are doing.
There have been many people out to criticize Elliot, and they are not looking at the whole picture because Elliot left a year early as these guys are, but at least played in his last game, the National Championship. That’s the difference right there that Elliot played his last game AFTER saying he was going pro, McCaffrey, and Fournette won’t.
All the people that are calling for the heads of Fournette and McCaffrey have to realize that they are hypocritical because saying that Elliot missed a whole season is comparable to a random bowl game, that has way less meaning, is wrong considering that both Fournette and McCaffrey are going into the NFL this year. Are people forgetting that they already declared and no one was blaming them, and both were injured this year, so does that matter to the fans? If either Stanford or LSU was in big bowl games instead of the Sun Bowl or the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, they would play. The bowls nowadays have officially become meaningless, more on that in a future article, so why do we care if they miss this meaningless game?
Particularly with the Ed O’Bannon case lingering over the NCAA, this makes it more known that the players do not want to play for free and want to make that money. Should we blame these players for leaving school, where there have been many cases of “fake classes” and other academic fraud cases that lead many to believe that the education is not worth it? The real question is why do these players get roasted for not playing a game in college after they played FOR FREE for three years already, and the college’s gathered in all the money. McCaffrey had 731 plays from scrimmage in his career, that’s not counting the plays he was not directly involved in, while Fournette had 657 plays from scrimmage, mostly rushing, in his career, all for free. Why do we care if these guys, who have been workhorses their whole career, miss one unpaid game because they want those future NFL checks?
Lastly, I want to talk about Klatt’s last point he made in the video above, and that was that we encourage, and applaud, coaches that leave for bigger and better jobs, and paychecks, but condemn players for doing the same. Most people are saying that the players are abandoning their teams, but aren’t the coaches doing the same when they take another job before their bowl game? Shouldn’t we be condemning Tom Herman for leaving Houston right after the regular season, what about Lane Kiffin or any other coach that did the same? They may be getting a better opportunity, but they are leaving the players out to dry, especially after recruiting them, probably saying something about staying at the program for years, and coaching them then they just leave. Is that allowed? Yes and they aren’t even coaching for free unlike the players, they are making millions. Why can’t the players do the same?