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    Saturday, June 03, 2023

    Arrest warrants a penalty

    Did you know that Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, the UConn basketball player, was just being a regular old college kid when he and two other individuals got caught with 5.6 grams of weed the other day?

    Just a college kid. They all do it. And besides, they should legalize pot anyway. Because everybody does it. And so the occasional, or not so occasional, foray with a fatty is accepted recreational behavior because everybody does it. And can't those misguided cops go catch real criminals?


    An abridged, although accurate, summation of the general population's dismissive wave of the latest transgression in the men's basketball program at State U. So what if "JCM," as he's known, could stand for Joint Cannabis Marijuana? It's OK. Because he's a college kid. And they all do it. And besides, they should legalize pot anyway. Because everybody does it.

    Public service announcement: It's just not worth going through life as a consequences person anymore. You know. Consequences person: Those of us who believe that actions beget repercussions.

    We're tired, old, silly, idealistic.

    So in lieu of remaining a tired, silly idealist, let's play along today. Let's adopt the argument and assume - just for fun - that pot has been legalized.

    Live and let live. Now we can walk down the street carrying the grocery bags and dime bags. We can do the reverse Bill Clinton and inhale. We can sing "Angels We Have Heard Are High" at Christmas. No, really. Let's think about this. Just as you can go into a liquor store and buy a pack of Marlboros and a six pack of Coors, we can mangia the ganja.

    And so were this the case, Coombs-McDaniel would not have been arrested.

    OK. We have established a new world order. Pot is legal.

    Now I have a question.

    Would that make Coombs-McDaniel's actions any more acceptable?

    Is it acceptable for a high profile college athlete to also possess "a marijuana grinder and a package of cigars used to smoke marijuana," as the police report said?

    Is it acceptable for Coombs-McDaniel to use the grinder and cigars to smoke, smoke away?

    Would that be really be acceptable?

    Note I did not write "legal." I wrote "acceptable."

    I guess this is where I become the tired, silly idealist again. Because it's not acceptable. It's irresponsible.

    Grossly irresponsible, really.

    Even in bizarro world.

    I hold this truth to be self evident, beyond the inalienable right to buy pot: High profile college athletes, blessed with scholarships, must have a deeper sense of obligation to things that are greater than their self interest and an obligation to think the consequences all the way through.

    Jamal Coombs-McDaniel didn't do that. And it's doubtful, even in a world where excuses are made in the name of winning, that anybody out there would admit that pot is a healthy recreational tool for a college athlete.

    Even if it's legal.

    High profile college athletes should be held to different - and higher - standards than their classmates. Why? Because athletes represent their universities in ways regular college students don't. Regular college kids get the benefit of relative anonymity.

    High profile athletes bear the blessing of the scholarship with the burden of being public figures. And public figures are held to different standards.

    As it says in the Bible: "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."

    As it should be.

    Now back to the real world. Excuses will be made for JCM because, hey, he's a college kid and college kids smoke pot and everybody does it and what's the big deal anyway?

    The big deal is that a young man who represents the state's biggest sports entity just broke the law. And until the law changes, the "they should legalize pot" argument is fine for reader comments and sound bites, but doesn't scratch this problem where it itches.

    I don't care that "they all do it." That's a lie, anyway. They don't all do it. And Jamal Coombs-McDaniel got caught. There must be consequences.

    His behavior has earned him a seat right next to his coach for the first three Big East games next year. He needs to be suspended. And not just for a November game against Popcorn State.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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