I’ve been disappointed to hear through some channels, and I caught a tone of it in Monday’s press conferences, that some within the U of L program may have construed that I was somehow taking a shot at wideout Harry Douglas in my Sunday column.
In fact, I was doing quite the opposite. I used a single incident, that happened to involved Douglas, to show how multiple interpretations can spring out of a single event.
Douglas and others on Monday clearly made their positions known on where he stood on the injury front (without disclosing the injury) and on what his status is (still up in the air).
It was good to hear, though allowing fans to speculate for 48 hours is the price of vagueness leading up to their statements on Monday.
Still, in using that single instance, it wasn’t my intent to put Douglas under the microscope. I said as much in the column.
My point in the column was that, quite often, we just don’t know. In fact, the message was that fans who are reacting so strongly right now need to at least consider that there is more to the story somewhere, and perhaps to react a little less and think a little more.
Of course, it’s our job in the media to bring more of the story to fans, and that’s no easy job in situations like this.
Still, Douglas is the last guy on this team that should be questioned. And while it doesn’t bother me if people misread my intent in some columns, I wanted to make clear that the point in that column wasn’t to impugn Douglas.
Having said that, let me tell you a little something about Douglas. Longtime U of L fan Jim Collins was good enough to email me this story from last week’s game against Utah. He and some friends continued their tailgating in the Red Lot after the Utah loss. When Collins crossed the street to get his car from another lot, he saw a player he thought was Douglas walking a girl across the way. He ran over to him, saw that it was Douglas and slapped him on the back, saying, “Keep your head up 85.”
They chatted for a few minutes, and Collins asked him if he had a few minutes, there were some boys in their group across the way that would love to meet him. Douglas asked for directions and said to give him a few minutes.
Collins went back to the tailgate, figuring that Douglas had just been polite in begging off. I’ll let him tell the story from here . . .
“Just about the time I am ready to wrap up the evening, I see a young man, smile on his face, fulfilling his promise to a huge Cards fan. A few conversations with us all, and photos with the boys and autographs, 6 young men were able to have a wonderful moment, hopefully one that they will cherish for years to come, as we cheer on No. 85 during the remainder of the season and in the NFL for years to come. Two families who chose to spend their evening at the game went home with a new love for their Cards and a player that will forever be remembered, not for the double digit catches or 200 yard receiving games, but for living up to his promise, one he made to a total stranger, one that will surely not be forgotten anytime soon.”
It’s a good story to remember, because no matter how frustrating the losses or big the wins, it’s getting harder and harder because of the (often necessary) insulation these programs employ to see these players as humans instead of some kind of robots who play sports.