There is a story making the rounds that suggests a “new normal” among prospective professional athletes.
It’s that some pro scouts, team executives and analysts just cannot believe that a possible star athlete doesn’t carry any baggage, that he’s got to have something wrong about him.
Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy this past season while playing quarterback for the University of Oregon.
He’s a fine young man. He’s devoted to his family. He finished his college education, earning his degree at Oregon. He’s the proverbial Boy Scout.
Then we hear that Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich reports that some National Football League analysts and scouts were spooked by the absolute absence of any skeletons in Mariota’s closet.
As Larry Brown writes in MSN.com: “The NFL is so used to finding at least something wrong with players that they balk when they can’t dig up any dirt.”
OK, Mariota isn’t perfect. He got a speeding ticket in Eugene, Ore., during his final year at Oregon.
But that’s it. Apparently.
Are we going to believe now that NFL general managers, scouts, coaches — maybe even the fans — demand that their star athletes punch out women, abuse drugs, steal things or launch into profanity-laced rants on national television?
The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Mariota to draft him No. 2 overall.
I’m going to go with the Titans’ judgment on a young man who certainly looks like the real thing.