The University of Louisville is no stranger to national and local scrutiny. The Cardinals have been a punching bag, rarely a media darling, windshield wipers dispersing slung mud, and a prime example of holding your head high and turning the other cheek. We stick by our own, sometimes to a fault, but we have survived scandals, affairs, questionable hires, federal criminal cases, drug problems, and national embarrassment.
The Statue of Liberty reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Louisville Football offers its own message by consistently welcoming the downtrodden, the castaways, the throwaways, and the write offs. Louisville offers chances where most throw stones and turn up their noses. Tom Jurich and Coach Petrino have stepped out on the feeblest of limbs for a young man named Devonte Fields. I stand with them, and agree with their decision to allow Cardinal Football another chance to save a person's life.
This country was built by individuals, fugitives, outliers, and questionable characters. People came to the United States from all over the world, but the common denominator was in their reason. The United States offered opportunity, a chance to become someone new and alter one's destiny for the better. In today's society, many mock this "American Dream", but for those of us who firmly believe in the greatness of America, opportunity is all that we need.
If the message of this country is a beacon of light for the world, why is it not good enough for Louisville and the Cardinal Football program?
Devonte Fields committed an atrocious act of domestic abuse, many of the details are clouded, but there is no debating the tragedy of his actions. Fields was wrong, he paid the price, and his life will forever be altered because of it. People out there have written him off and will actively root against him for the rest of his life no matter how many good deeds he performs. No one knows if Devonte Fields has changed except Devonte, but I choose, and Louisville has chosen to offer the kid a chance at reformation.
Many have already, and people will continue to profess that Louisville only wants him because of his talent. His recruiting ranking is obviously a reason why he was offered a scholarship, but Louisville has a track record of offering chances to much less talented individuals than Fields. Louisville is an example of hope and forgiveness, and our university is built around assisting anyone, no matter their background, in a journey to reach their potential.
Devonte Fields actions were despicable, and Tom Jurich and Coach Petrino have really opened Pandora's Box on this one. Their credibility could take a major hit if this blows up, but I believe they are right in not condemning Fields for all of eternity. Domestic abuse is is a major concern, and due to the NFL, the recent attention it has received is enormous. I am all for awareness and working towards eradicating major issues, but I disapprove of jumping on and off national band wagons.
The Cardinals are offering Fields a chance. I assume what he's been offered is a zero tolerance/no leash chance. If Fields steps one toe out of line, his days as a Cardinal will be over and his life as a football player will evaporate. My question for Eric Crawford and the rest of the naysayers: what is wrong with a chance?
Louisville has once again ventured into territory that few others ever have or ever will. Our university is offering an opportunity to someone most argue doesn't deserve it. Louisville is founded upon and continues its mission of community outreach and believing that anyone can become the best version of their self if just one door can be opened. It is the idea this country was founded upon and a message we should all take great pride in. Welcome to Louisville Devonte, you've been given an unbelievable opportunity and most notably a second chance. The choice is yours from here, make us proud, but more importantly make yourself proud.
All Hail UofL !!