Anyone need of some stupid can call incoming Alabama freshman footballer Dee Liner. He appears to be plum eat up with it.
Yesterday, Liner — a highly-rated defensive end prospect who signed with the Tide in February — decided to post a photo of himself and his buddies on the social media platform Instagram. The text accompanying the pic said: #StruggleOverWit.
The photo — of course — showed Liner and his pals holding cash aplenty:
As is the case anytime a player posts photos of himself with big money — whether it’s Auburn’s Dakota Moseley or Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell – the internet melted down with rival fans screaming that the player had obviously been bought and paid for by his new school. In this case, the University of Alabama.
We’ve received several emails this morning — apparently from Tide fans — instructing us that when we write about the issue we should keep in mind that the money held by Liner and buddies could have come from anywhere. Which is correct.
You see a bunch of 18-year-olds holding wads of cash and saying “StruggleOverWit” and your mind can go almost anywhere. Maybe they won the lottery. Maybe they’re independently wealthy. Or maybe they just sold a kilo of weed. Or maybe they knocked over a liquor store.
See? There are all kinds of ways for teenagers to land fantails of money. Unfortunately, I myself never had a thousand or so bucks of spending cash as a teenager… and I’d have probably had to sell a kilo of weed or knock over a liquor store to get it.
The real question in all of this is: “When will they learn?”
Oh, I’m not talking about the kids. They’re teenagers, they’re supposed to be stupid. Been there, was that.
I’m talking about coaches. I’ve written it a few million times — and while Les Miles made a funny at SEC Media Days — I still say coaches should immediately ban their players from social media as soon as they sign their scholarship papers. There’s no difference between that and preventing freshmen from speaking to the media. It’s not a First Amendment issue in any way, shape or form. It’s actually a means of protecting a school’s players and a school’s reputation… just in case one of those youngsters is dumb enough to do what Liner did yesterday.
To get a free ride and play football at Alabama — or anywhere else — is a privilege, not a right. Want a free education? Don’t tweet. Want a shot to reach the NFL? Don’t post photos on Instagram. That’s hardly asking the players to give up food and water.
But, hey, what do I know? Maybe Nick Saban, the UA administration and Crimson Tide fans everywhere like the fact that thousands of Americans are once again connecting the word “Alabama” with the word “cheating.”
A jump to conclusions? Most assuredly. But that should be expected. Just as athletes should be expected to post dumb things on social media.
At some point you’d expect more coaches to realize that there’s a pretty simple solution to that problem.