Outsights

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY BRIAN HUXMAN
I?m not trying to make anyone jealous, but I as you read this, I?m probably lounging on the beach, riding one of those famous attractions that draw people to Walt Disney World, or simply relaxing in Disney?s honeymoon suite.

Yes, it?s a rough life for this newly married man and his Lovely Bride. But I have to admit, I?ve been looking forward to a chance to ?get away from it all? for some time now.

Don?t you ever feel that way? Escape is tempting?not just from the everyday world of work and school, but also from the propaganda-driven banter of the media and how it influences the way we view people in the public eye.

Last week, as I was watched the post-game wrap-up of the national championship game between Florida State and Virginia Tech, I began thinking about the ton of negative publicity Peter Warrick, the game?s ?Most Valuable Player,? has endured after he was arrested for taking financial advantage of a Dillard?s employee in Florida.

Reportedly, Warrick and a buddy from the football team purchased $420 worth of merchandise for about $21.

Quite a crime, right? At least you?d think so by the amount of criticism and ridicule the media have heaped upon him.

What reporters need to remember as they indict Warrick is that he?s only 21 years old.

All of us have made poor decisions. But Warrick?s hardly rivals the bad decisions made by athletes such as Lester Earl, Cecil Collins or Shevin Wiggins. All three made bad decisions during their college years.

Earl admitted to accepting a car and some money from boosters at Louisiana State University. After finding out about the incident, the NCAA placed LSU on probation.

Earl eventually transferred to the University of Kansas, where he has since been in trouble for several other silly violations, most recently refusing to pay a traffic ticket.

The crimes of Collins and Wiggins are more heinous. Both men having been charged with sex-related crimes. Wiggins claims he did not know the age of his victim, but he was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl.

In no way was Warrick?s action defendable. But he did pay some serious consequences for his bad decision: he was denied the Heisman Trophy given to the top player in college football, the Belitnikof Award for the top receiver in college football, and the Maxwell Award for the top player in college.

For all that he was condemned, Warrick did do something that deserve commendation: Instead of opting out early for the big money of professional football, he came back to college for his senior season to complete his college degree and help his team win a national championship.

It is especially refreshing to see an athlete of Warrick?s calibre care enough about about his future beyond football to earn his degree.

After the national championship game, I heard three reporters ask Warrick if the win helped him put the Dillard?s incident behind him.

?I put that behind me a long time ago,? he told one reporter.

But the national media certainly haven?t. They?ve done their best to keep that cloud looming over his head?and will continue to do so for years to come, most likely.

My point is that Warrick should be remembered as much or more for his commitment to graduate and his MVP performance in the national championship.

As we start a new decade and century, I wish for Warrick and?for all us, really?the opportunity to experience the freedom of a clean slate. Let?s focus on the good times and put the bad behind us.

People in the public eye are under constant scrutiny. Publicity is a two-edged sword, and I imagine they?d like the chance occasionally to escape from it?if not forever, at least for the week Corrine and I will get.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support in this exciting yet trying time in my life. The Free Press and Hillsboro community, friends and family have helped me attain my goals.

And Corrine, you know I love you!

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