My father once told me that a person can do a thousand things right, even ten thousand things right, but you do one thing wrong, just one, that’s all people will ever remember, and you don’t want to be that guy. Throughout my life I have watched this old cliché play out many times. I think it’s even more relevant now during the age of instant news and social media. People in the world today can’t wait to jump on their moral high horse and take someone to task. It is a hobby for some.
Saturday during a basketball game against Western Kentucky Montrezl Harrell was poked, prodded, pushed and at one point ganged up on by five of the Hilltopper players. When that happened Montrezl lost control of himself and came very close to throwing a punch during a scuffle at the end of the first half. Montrezl was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul. After watching the video for several minutes the referees in charge of the game determined that while Montrezl came very close he did not throw a punch. And it was also ruled that he did not fight. So this should be the end of this right?
While watching the game I was very critical of Montrezl’s behavior and even made my sentiment known via my twitter account. But after watching video and looking at several photos of the incident after the game was over it is clear that Montrezl was just defending himself from a mobbing by the Hilltoppers. And it was also very clear to me that the incident would have never happened if the referees had intervened effectively. It is their responsibility to make sure the players feel safe and protected while on the court. So why aren’t they being scrutinized?
Montrezl Harrell has been the epitome of class. He has always carried himself with dignity and set the right example academically, socially and spiritually. He has respect for the game of basketball and plays it with more passion, desire and enthusiasm than most of us have ever seen. When he was winning a gold medal for this country a few summers ago the announcers made comments during the game that they had never seen a player go harder. They called him “Enthusiasm Personified”. One could say that during his basketball career Montrezl Harrell has done a thousand things right.
After the game today Montrezl took ownership of his behavior during the incident. He didn’t blame anyone, he didn’t make excuses and he owned it. One of my readers shared a story of what Montrezl did after he left the locker room and it is what should be remembered.
After the game on Saturday Montrezl spent 20 minutes signing autographs for kids and making a little time for each of them. As the reader wrote “He signed autographs until they made him get on the bus”
This made me remember the time last year when a 9 year old Louisville boy Cruz Colvin was fighting long odds for a bone marrow match. The Louisville third graders family and friends were recruiting the public to be potential donors. When Montrezl got word of this in the local news he took the time to visit Cruz and also took the time to join the National Bone Marrow Registry.
It also made me think of that image last year of Montrezl taking the time to hug a special needs child at a women’s basketball game.
I have seen a lot of negative things thrown out towards this young man today; he has been called a thug, and much worse. Some members of the national media are also jumping on this negative bandwagon. Montrezl has worked his butt off putting in the hours, making the right decisions, doing the right things. Are we so caught up in this punishment mentality as a society that we would take all that away for almost throwing a punch?
This young man is on pace to be an All-American this season, and if anyone deserves that title it’s Montrezl Harrell. This one time can we do the right thing by him? Can we not forget about those ten thousand things he’s done right? Hey national media can we not make Montrezl that guy? Let’s think about the guy after the game signing all those autographs with the kids, let’s remember the time he helped Cruz Colvin, let’s remember the time he took a moment to make a kids night, and write about that. Montrezl is a good guy, not THAT guy….