Not very often as writers are we given the opportunity to prove an opinion we have off the field is correct. But then the fields of college football and politics don’t cross often. In this case the culprit crossing lines is Craig James. Again James, as in the past 30 years, is trying to pull the wool over America’s eyes.
It was written in December the former SMU running back and current ESPN college football commentator was contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate in Texas. He stated he would run for the office vacated by the retirement of Kay Bailey Hutchison. At that time we stated “Congress needs another member with a trail of troubles who doesn’t understand reality.”
As it turns out, after years of denial, James was a part of the scandal at SMU. James has finally admitted to accepting payments which ultimately received the NCAA’s death penalty.
As reported in the Houston Chronicle, James “concedes he did wrong as a football player at Southern Methodist University where he accepted illegal handouts from school boosters.” The amount he accepted was ‘insignificant.”
James declined to admit how much he accepted. So are we to imagine “insignificant” means $10, $20 or $30? Back then it was nothing for a player at SMU to be “on contract,” meaning they were paid anywhere from $200 to $750 per month. Much higher than “insignificant.” Remember this was the 1980’s so the amounts now are tantamount to what the players at Miami received.
James spoke to reporters saying “I didn’t have the maturity to turn it away.” That might be understandable had he not denied taking the money for years after. Where was his maturity throughout these decades in denying it? James was asked the same questions over and over for years. Including the past year when his employer did a “30 for 30” expose’ on the SMU violations. Yet it didn’t fit his plans to admit the infractions at the time.
James was never vilified for his dishonesty, as was Pete Rose. After all, both were perpetrating a lie on sports fans across America. James violations hurt many more people than Rose’s did. Rose hurt himself. James taking money caused a program to be shut down, eventually hurting over 70 players. Should James be forgiven for what he did and Rose not?
James said he didn’t really understand taking the money was wrong at the time. What didn’t he understand? The school was placed on probation for a year while he was there. Yet he didn’t get it? James has spent his time at ESPN commentating on players, coaches and administrations. Plus trying to play “superior” in the Texas Tech case. Yet now we find out he is less than pure.
Also where ESPN is is the reporting of this case? Not a word has been spoken and only the Houston Chronical is picking up the mantle. Why isn’t ESPN doing their job about one of theirs? They did on Jalen Rose in his drunken driving escapade.
James decided this was the correct time to come clean because of his aspiring political dreams. Knowing the truth would come out sooner than later, James chooses to come clean. By doing that, he hopes his image will not be tarnished and he will remain electable.
After all, electability is all that matters. Not the truth, not the past. Only the illusion.