Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

The AJ-C brings us the next chapter in the Josh Jarboe saga.  And you don’t have to read any further than the headline to know where it’s going:  Lawyer: Ex-Sooner Jarboe ‘victim of technology’.  We’re told the kid is in a state of shock after the dismissal.

There are some valid points in Jarboe’s defense raised in the article.  “Victim” aside, there’s something to be said about the generational and cultural gap here between the judgment makers and the student athlete:

“Five years ago, this never would’ve made it out of the dorm,” says J. Brent Clark, a lawyer in Norman, former NCAA enforcement officer and author of a book about Sooner football. “Josh Jarboe has been victimized by technology. He wasn’t doing anything different than thousands of young people across the country, in terms of making up his own rap lyrics. What Josh did was normal activity for his age group, his ethnicity and his interests.

“Was it poor judgment? Yes,” Clark adds. “But what kind of standard are we holding these kids to? I don’t know a 50-year-old white male who has any clue about dorm life in 2008 — and I’m a 50-year-old white male.

“But who are the decision makers? Fifty-year-old white men.”

And my first thought on reading the story about his dismissal mirrored Bob Stoops’ attitude about it.

… Even Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops initially seemed to defend Jarboe against the Internet’s intrusiveness. “Kick a guy off the team for what he says?” Stoops told The Oklahoman. “Now we’re in people’s homes, in their private spaces.”

On the other hand, how much effort does it take to realize that rapping about gun violence in the wake of being kicked out of high school for a weapon violation probably isn’t the smartest behavior?  And technology cuts both ways here – Jarboe’s generation is far more familiar with cell phone videos and Facebook than the 50 year old white guys who passed judgment on him.  So shouldn’t he have been at least somewhat aware of what could happen when his teammate held up a phone to capture the moment?

Still, I don’t doubt this:

“He called me, crying like a baby,” says Jarrett Harper, an assistant coach at Cedar Grove. “He didn’t know what he’d done wrong.”

Jarboe’s hurting now, but that’ll pass.  After all, as the article mentions,

… Coaches say a string of schools have called — from Big Ten and SEC programs to historically black colleges. He’s eligible to play this season and could choose a new school this week.

He’ll survive.  If he learns from the experience, that’ll say something about his character and maturity.  If there are more bad decisions down the road, maybe those 50 year old white guys knew something after all.

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UPDATE: Barnhart explores the mindset of those 50 year old white guys with this thought:

… Here is the harsh reality of this situation. This is really not about Jarboe or some kind of clash of cultures or a generational misunderstanding.

This is about the fact that in April of 2007 a crazed student walked into a Virginia Tech classroom building and murdered 32 people. It’s about the fact that there were some signs that the killer at Virginia Tech was prone to violence. But nobody picked up on those signs until it was too late.

What if Oklahoma, knowing Jarboe’s background, had just let the video incident slide? Now consider the unthinkable. What if the ultimate horror story takes place and someone’s child is killed at Oklahoma with Jarboe holding the gun?

Jeebus. If the mindset here is that nobody knows what sort of madness may lurk in Jarboe’s soul, it’s time to question – seriously question – what Bob Stoops is doing on the recruiting trail.  If the guy can’t even figure out when he’s recruiting a sociopath… good grief.

Look, the kid’s exercised some serious errors in judgment, enough that there’s a legitimate concern that he might go back to the well again and do something stupid – this time, on the Sooners’ dime.  Given its recent experience with the job market for its players, Oklahoma doesn’t need any more embarrassment these days.  It seems to me you can justify that call.  But to take it to the level of “we can’t take the risk he turns out to be a mass murderer”?  Wow.

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9 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

9 responses to “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

  1. UgaMatt

    10 to 1 he ends up at Tennessee

  2. I find the term “youthful contradictions” to be redundant. Isn’t youth by its very nature contradictory? Science suggests that young men don’t reach emotional maturity until roughly 25 years of age.

    While I abhor guns and gun violence and think threats of such should be taken very seriously, you can hardly fault a young man of 18 for rapping about it when his musical heroes have gone on to make millions selling albums with the same content.

    Booting him off the team was a bit harsh. Perhaps counseling and some volunteer time working with gunshot victims or kids in juvenile detention might have been a better alternative.

    50 year old white guys might make the decisions, but it doesn’t mean they are right. Besides, in 30-40 years, Jarboe could be in a position to be making decisions and wouldn’t it be to everyone’s benefit for those decisions to be well-informed as opposed to a skewed perspective because Jarboe was punished severely for behavior that was not seen to be wrong in his eyes or the eyes of his peers.

    I suspect that the actions taken were so punitive because the 50-year old white guys were embarrassed and had to cover their arses because Jarboe’s actions made it to YouTube for the world to see. If the video had been confined to the OK campus, I can guarantee you that such severe steps would have never been taken.

  3. Ally

    I do not buy for one second that Josh didn’t know/understand what he did wrong here.

    Stoops & the OU made it implicitly clear what was expected of him & that he had NO margin for error.

    Sux for him, but when you choose the behavior, you choose the consequence. He should’ve learned that a long time ago – or at the very least when he was arrested just a few months ago.

    And this victim of technology crap is just that. The only victimization that has befallen Mr. Jarboe can be directly attributed to his own arrogance.

    The real victim here is Oklahoma; they’re out a player. They took Mr. Jarboe at his word: that he would follow the rules and behave. They didn’t have to honor his scholly after the mess he got himself into, but they did. It was up to him to prove he was worth the trouble. Josh has no one to blame but himself.

  4. Ally

    Cindy – he wasn’t booted for the rap. No one said he couldn’t rap.

    He was booted because he rapped a/b it & then so arrogantly uploaded it for the world to see. He was bragging about the same thugish behaviors & image he was just punished for in a court of law. He chose to glorify what he is on probation for. He embarrassed a program that gave him a second chance, and he presented the very image he committed to changing when he promised he would keep his nose clean.

    That’s why he was dismissed. And, in my opinion, he deserved it.

  5. Ally – one minor correction. OU’s filled Jarboe’s slot with Jarvis Jones, who was previously booted from LSU.

    And yes, it would be ironic if LSU is now courting Jarboe with Jones’ slot (although I have no indication that is in fact happening).

  6. Ally

    Yeah, I read about the deal w/ Jones, on your blog actually. I just think the Jones situation isn’t the same YET. And here’s why:

    1) Jones my be coming into the OU program just like Jarboe did – why a big strike against him & with rules of conduct made implicitly clear.
    2) Jarboe came in under those new rules for him & then violated them. Hence, his dismissal. He knew of the consequences & still chose to break the rules.

    Now if Jones breaks the rules, he should suffer the same fate. But, the difference is that he hasn’t…yet.

    I could be way off, so its only an opinion. But, that’s just how I view the current differences.

  7. NebraskaDawg

    I agree Matt. Georgia Tech will probably be in the running as well. Both will take any other programs sloppy seconds.

  8. 81Dog

    Boo hoo. Jarboe dodged a bullet, so to speak, when the authorities reduced what were probably solid felony charges down to misdemeanors. At least in part, the reason for that was probably to keep from killing his chances to play college football. He already used up his free pass for being stupid, unless you think bringing a pistol on school grounds to show someone else what a badass he was shows good sense.

    So, does Jarboe learn anything from the experience? Does he acquire any humility in the process of being arrested, prosecuted, sentenced? Apparently not. He has no idea what he did here that was wrong? That doesnt exactly bode well for his future.

    I’m sorry he’s just “doing what he’s done his whole life” or doing “what any other kid his age would do” or whatever lame excuse his supporters want to offer up. Him and his posse should learn to quit being gangsta wannabes and start acting like they have at least two working brain cells.

    But, it’s not his fault. It’s the evil 50 year old white guys who just dont understand that Jarboe was just keepin’ it real.

    Pull your pants up, turn your hat around, and quit being a dumbass, Josh. Good luck at your next location, and leave the perpetratin’ to the losers who are in the fast lane to prison.

  9. Ally

    I’ll say he can’t rap… he was awful!!!