Marijuana’s active ingredient THC is not harmful, the scientific tests that I choose to believe have concluded. But if you’re a member of the University of Texas Longhorns, pot is really bad for you. It’ll cause you to lose your dreams, as well as your scholly.
Forget that a Longhorns running back totally into Bob Marley won the Heisman trophy fifteen years ago or that a team of stoners brought a national championship back to Austin in 2006. This is a new regime led by a coach with zero tolerance- and one win.
Statesman football beat writer Brian Davis, whose writing is as flashy as his name, turns out to be a pretty good reporter. He scoured university records to find out that first year football coach Charlie Strong is a big fan of drug testing, going through almost twice as many lined plastic cups in 8 months as his predecessor Mack Brown did on average per year: 188 to 104. Brown usually tested players in the spring and mid-October, but never during training camp or before the season opener, Davis reported.
But Charlie Gotcha didn’t stop after testing 104 players from March 19-28, according to university records. On April 11, another 18 players were tested, then two on April 30, and one more on May 3. Fifteen tests in July were followed by 16 in August, when the players and coaches were living together in the dorms. “We drug test,” Charlie proudly proclaims. One helluva recruiting slogan.
Chief Strongbow has dismissed nine braves this season and suspended three, including Daje Johnson, whose Ramonce Taylor impression bombed like Henny Youngman at the Apollo. Daje is the Missing Link, with his blazing speed needed to spread the defense, which would loosen the box for our star (in high school, at least) RBs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray. But we also need Da J to give recruits a 2014 highlight reel that consists of more than short passes and shorter runs. Then there’s the suspended- for unspecified reasons- Josh Turner, who is missed badly in a defensive backfield in a constant state of quandary, dig?
And let’s make this clear: the drug that makes players fail is marijuana. Cocaine and heroin last in your system just slightly longer than bad Chinese food, but traces of THC can be found in urine 45 days after someone hands you a joint at a Wiz Khalifa concert. The way this team has been weeded out, it seems that those not accused of raping were vaping.
Can’t have players who have smoked marijuana- they might screw up the coin flip. Or run a hurry-up offense with a 4-point lead and 4 minutes on the clock. (Maybe the coaches should be drug-tested.)
You don’t need to test me to know I’m a marijuana advocate; my phone’s contacts list looks like a yelp pizza index. The benefits of herb lap the detriments, especially in a sport where off-field violence is a major concern. Nobody fights when they’re stoned because, as comedian Bill Hicks pointed out, they forget what they were arguing about. Put the THC back in team?
Meanwhile, Longhorn Nation unanimously applauds Coach Strong’s heavy law and order approach. It’s good to see a black authority figure, for a change, coming down hard on young black men. (Don’t deny that there’s a racial element on that plantation with goalposts.) There’s even been talk of Roger Goodell seeking out Strong for advice on how to administer his five core values: 1) Honesty 2) Treat women with respect 3) No drugs 4) No stealing and 5) No guns. Seems to me that list is self-explanatory, but Goodell is so intent on keeping his $44 million job, through public relations, he’s also trying to set up a meet with Oprah or at least Liz Gilbert.
It’s also worth pointing out that then-Longhorn Cayleb Jones, now a star receiver for Arizona, would not have violated Charlie’s Core in 2012 when he coldcocked a tenis player who was chatting up #4’s ex-girlfriend. The Chuck Fiver leaves out a bunch of things, like treating the other half of the world’s population with respect.
Number three means any street drugs, even the ones delivered by bike messenger. Even the ones that help with stress and anxiety. Even the ones that make Foster the People sound good. It’s a rule and if you break it that means that you put yourself above the team and so you’re gone. It’s less a crackdown on potheads than players who think the rules don’t apply to them. I get that.
I love Charlie Strong, I do. He’s the best possible coach Texas could’ve hired since Kevin Sumlin wasn’t going anywhere and Art Briles hates UT. But I also think a great football team needs a few ME guys (also known as playmakers) on the field. Football is a crazy-ass sport. You’ve gotta not only be big, fast and strong, but you have to be fearless to succeed. We need a few guys that don’t count their items before getting in the express lane. I’m not saying Horns players shouldn’t be tested for drugs, but once they pass the mandatory group piss-off, why sneak up on them later? The players work hard for no money to allow Charlie Strong to make over $5 million a year. Let ‘em smoke some boo.
Everybody’s convinced that Charlie’s chocolate muscle factory is going to be churning out 12-win seasons as soon as he gets his own squeaky clean players in place. The best high school player in Texas, Mesquite Poteet LB Malik Jefferson, is leaning hard towards Austin after being sold on Strong. But if I’m a parent of a supremely talented athlete with his whole world ahead of him, do I want to risk him getting kicked off the team in a public humiliation and playing JUCO in Brenham if his urine isn’t pristine? “Zero tolerance” would scare me if I could see my kid making a mistake.
The Strong philosophy will attract some recruits and repel others, but the idea is that we want guys who embrace discipline and team unity. It’ll take time. Be prepared for a season where the Hook ‘Em Horns sign will also answer the question of how many wins we can expect. Today’s game against Kansas is going to be tough. I think the Jayhawks squeak one out, 19-17 and Texas limps back to Austin 1-3, with Baylor and OU up next. We’re all supposed to just sit back and applaud Charlie Strong’s cultural upheaval of UT football because we’re going to be great in a few years, but I’d like to propose an alternative to Coach Strong’s 5 core values. Follow these and we’re looking at 6-6, baby.
The 5 Cork Values
- Beat your man, not your woman
- No man-made drugs
- No assholes
- No 5-yard passes on 3rd and 10
- Beat Kansas for godssakes