Maurice Clarett: “You are treated like a celebrity. It’s not a Terrelle Pryor problem. It’s just a culture of the whole system.”June 8, 2011 – 10:10 am by Steven Cuce
Maurice Clarett had it all at Ohio State. During his freshmen year in 2002, Clarett was a dominant force, helping lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship. He challenged the NFL’s draft eligibility rules as a freshmen, trying to come out of college early and was booted from Ohio State on several arrests later on leading to some jail time. Clarett was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005, but didn’t even make it past the pre-season, not playing a single NFL down and being released in August of 2005.
Now trying to make a comeback in the UFL, where he played for the Omaha Nighthawks last season, Clarett is looking for a second chance. He felt that it was time to come on the proper national platform to discuss his feelings on all the happenings surrounding the unraveling of the Ohio State football program. His insight is very valid coming from a star player who knows what it’s like to come from nothing [his own words] and reach the top of the summit. Clarett knows the temptations and understands the feeling of just wanting to make it big and prove to your family that there is hope. He was very candid in the following interview and is adamant that Jim Tressel is a good man.
Maurice Clarett joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss his initial thoughts when he heard Jim Tressel was resigning from Ohio State, Ohio State having a culture problem, inner-city college football players wanting more causing them to sell memorabilia, having a problem with college football players selling their memorabilia for tattoos and cash, where his National Championship ring is right now and Jim Tressel being a cheater.
Your thoughts when you heard the news that Jim Tressel resigned from the Ohio State head coaching position? What did you think at the time?
“There was no initial reaction just understanding when all the turmoil came up I didn’t think he would have to step down or he soon wouldn’t have to be forced to step down. To answer your question I didn’t have an initial reaction.”
If you look at the culture in Ohio State to have Jim Tressel resign and Terrelle Pryor to leave. Is this happening everywhere in college football?
“I definitely believe it’s more of a cultural problem in regards to just basically young guys, myself, being one of them who comes from the inner city, who comes from a basically impossible situation, who just comes from places where we glorify ignorance, nonsense, and just not being responsible. I think when we step to the plate are we going to cite these universities the Ohio State’s, the Penn State’s, Miami, USC, anywhere. I just don’t think that the way guys are raised or the way that we are brought or just the way or the things we glorify or the things that we prioritize they are not conducive to what goes on at universities. Then when you began to bring up just the dynamics of what the NCAA expects of you, the university expects of you, it kind of just doesn’t correlate. I think there has to be a more responsible system put in place to just kind of help guys succeed.”
You’re saying culturally? You’re talking about inner-city kids wanting something? Asking for something? Needing something? Offered something?
“No hold on. That’s one component of it. A lot of them guys, [inner-city] kids come from nothing. Like I said I’m sure when Coach Tressel rolls out to recruit these guys from inner-cities they come from nothing. People don’t realize how much your family, your cousins, aunts, uncles, everybody depends on you and your athletic ability and they say this is the only way you can make out because when they wake up everyday, everyday of their lives, they don’t see anybody who has went to college. They don’t see anybody who’s graduated and went on to have success on a scholastic level, so they don’t believe in it. People only believe in what they see. That’s on any level, so when they come to college and they are using to having nothing and they didn’t. Like I said I’ll have a $100 dollars in Columbus,Ohio, and I told you if you want to stay in a reputable place you are going to pay $750 dollars for your rent. You’re going to pay another $4 dollars a gallon for gas that’s another $100/$150 dollars a month. I said don’t have a girlfriend and don’t just live a normal life and $1100 dollars is not enough, but in Columbus,Ohio, you are treated like a celebrity, so it’s not a Terrelle Pryor problem. It’s not a Jim Tressel problem. It’s just a culture, not of inner-city youth, just a culture of the whole system.”
Do you have problem with these guys trading in their memorabilia to get tattoo’s? Cash? Whatever they were getting?
“The problem is why don’t they keep it? The problem is who would like to keep that memorabilia? Why are they even in that position? Why is it that a university can profit $20/30/40 million dollars and these guys are in the position where they have to sell memorabilia? The only thing of value at that point. You know what I’m saying? That’s the argument to me. Why are they even in that position to do that? There’s enough money to go around.”
Did you sell your memorabilia?
“No there was no need to. I was on a different level just from playing, so everything I went out and got it was just through conversation and me having relationships with people, so I didn’t have to do it at the time.”
Where’s your National Championship ring?
“That’s at my mothers house. There’s not one piece of memorabilia that I don’t have. Just to set the record straight with the Sports Illustrated article. I have no idea where this Dudley’s [tattoo parlor] place is at. They say players are going down their to get a tattoo. I have no idea where Dudley’s Tattoos is at.”
Do you consider Coach Tressel a cheater?
“No absolutely not. He cares about people. You get caught up in the political realm of things absolutely, but me while I have this time, I ease off and I’m going to spend as much time as I can around him to gain a better understanding on how he became to be what he is and how he helped people. Coach Tressel is not a cheater at all.”
Listen to Maurice Clarett on The Dan Patrick Show here [Interview begins at 18:35 into the podcast]