On Cardale Jones and A Twitter Troll


Ask athletes to be paragons of virtue. Demand they meet moral standards both on the field of play and in life many of us fail to meet ourselves. Expect nothing short of the championship-caliber production, and do it all with humility.

Just don’t stand up for anything.

This is one terrible tweet, sent to Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, but it’s hardly anecdotal. It’s a raindrop in the ocean of demands some fans and some media make of athletes.

I’m owed a championship. Go fetch it for me, and do so without having an opinion on a social issue.

St. Louis Rams players received threats from “fans” — read, “cowards” — for taking the field last November with their hands up, a reference to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. How many of these threats came from people who

Athletes in our society hold a unique place of prominence. We follow their exploits closely and children growing up wanting to emulate them. It’s why so many take a hand-wringing approach about athletes’ character.

But then, how many “fans” in an uproar over Jared Cook, Tavon Austin and others displayed the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” pose completely glossed over, or outright ignored, Cook’s work with the Restoring The Village initiative?

Predominantly white fans telling black athletes how to react to social issues specifically impacting black communities is tone-deaf. It would be laughably so, if it didn’t reflect a larger, societal problem. That athletes like Jared Cook and Cardale Jones help bring attention to this can perhaps help us make some headway in the conversation.

In this particular instance with Jones, we have an adult berating a college kid for showing intellectual curiosity — the single most fundamental aspect of being in college.

Cardale Jones has matured from the days of his infamous “play school” tweet, as teenagers transitioning into their 20s are want to do.

The star of the College Football Playoff showing a public interest in and seeking to further the dialogue of such a weighty topic further supports Cardale Jones’ growth. It seems he’s playing school pretty damn well, which he’s at Ohio State to do as much as to win Big Ten and national championships.

Isn’t that a virtue we demand of college athletes?