Cardale Jones tweeted something shortsighted and, frankly, boneheaded in October 2012. That was 27 months ago, otherwise known as a veritable lifetime for a college student.
I often thank heavens that Twitter wasn’t around my first two years of college, otherwise the Library of Congress would have a vast catalog of truly stupid thoughts archived, should anyone ever have enough interest in me to do some research to gain ammunition.
But I know I certainly changed between my freshman and late into my junior years, and even more so as a senior. See, some people grow during their college experience.
The Cardale Jones who announced Thursday he would return to Ohio State, not to pursue a Heisman Trophy or repeat as a national champion, but to earn his degree, has obviously grown in the 27 months since he sent out an unfortunate tweet.
— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) January 15, 2015
In other words, he embodies the student-athlete “student-athlete,” a term that makes many cringe but still has merit when the extracurriculars added to it are stripped away.
Now, because there’s a toxic attitude that emanates from certain corners of media and thus seeps into the public consciousness, it’s not enough that an athlete does something commendable. How he does it is measured just with as much scrutiny because, after all, ATHLETES OWE US, DAMMIT.
Let’s have a look on Twitter, shall we?
Cardale Jones: "I don't know why you guys made this such a big deal." (Um, Cardale, YOU made it a big deal.)
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 15, 2015
Ah, Pro Football Talk. It never disappoints. If only we could all breathe the rarefied air high atop Mount Florio, which obviously cultivates moral superiority with all who inhale it.
Just don’t ask what it’s made of.
As for Jones generating the attention paid him…Yeah, no.
Cardale Jones coming back to Ohio State or opting to enter the NFL wasn’t a big deal because he made it so. At least, not because he held a brief press conference.
Jones made that decision a big deal in that people cared because he absolutely balled out in two historic games. His play certainly generated interest, but he didn’t force anyone to care.
The ever-expanding behemoth that is the nation’s interest in all things football made Cardale Jones’ NFL decision a big deal. He was presented a spotlight, and he opted to use said spotlight to do something noble.
Ted Ginn Sr. Said they had the press conference so Cardale could be an example for kids.
— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) January 15, 2015
It’s important to note that Cardale Jones held his press conference at Ginn Academy. Perhaps seeing the national championship-winning quarterback extol the virtues of getting a college degree might keep the next Cardale Jones from tweeting about “playing school.”
Considering it Jones paying his own intellectual growth forward. That’s just as impressive as him beating three ranked opponents in his first three college starts.