Greg Bryant, Like Too Many Young Men, Deserved Better

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Greg Bryant’s life shouldn’t be remembered for the way it ended.

The young man who family members told Associated Press reporter Terry Spencer always smiled should be remembered. Bryant should be remembered for overcoming failure in pursuit of his goals.

Bryant didn’t give up on his NFL dream after his dismissal from Notre Dame due to academics. Adam Kramer details Bryant studying in a hotel room in Miami, attending junior college while working to getting his football career back on track.

Bryant accomplished just that when UAB head coach Bill Clark came calling.

Blazer football adopted the hashtag #TheReturn to celebrate the program’s comeback from a brief period of dormancy. The coming years marked Bryant’s own return, earned through his own dedication and refocus.

Greg Bryant deserves to be remembered as more than a statistic. In his tragic and senseless death, the talented running back became one of the more than 13,000 lives taken by gun violence in America each year.

No matter your stance on gun control, no one should disagree that’s more than 13,000 too many. Perhaps I’m naive believing this is a universal position, especially given few topics are as divisive.

Society will never reach a consensus on the how. But, as gun deaths in the United States reach totals nearly matching that of automobile accidents per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no denying an epidemic.

Too many college football players like Greg Bryant are gunned down on the upswing of their lives.

The memory of how their lives ended invokes sadness, as South Carolina State vice-president of affairs Tamara Hughes expressed to The State in September, on the one-year anniversary of linebacker Brandon Robinson’s murder outside a campus dorm.

“Sometimes it’s good to talk about things that have happened in the past, but it brings up sad memories,” she said.

If not sadness, then anger, which Tanesha Reed — mother of slain Eastern Michigan wide receiver Demarius Reed — told The Chicago Tribune she worked to avoid.

“I promised I would not be angry because anger is such a destructive emotion,” she said in November 2013, a month after her son’s death. “It can take you to a place that’s really not good.”

Likewise, Greg Bryant’s uncle, Allan Mosley, told the AP “revenge…will not bring Greg back.”

The lives of these and thousands more young men in the U.S. shouldn’t have to come with such emotions. I can’t and don’t profess to have the answers, but I can say definitively that one more death like Greg Bryant’s is one too many.