SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
7/31/2006 11:41:00 AM
Darren McFadden rushed 13 times for 88 yards in last year's 70-17 loss to USC.
In the storied annals of stupid behavior by college athletes, the story of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden's bar-fight toe injury over the weekend may just rank in the top 10 percentile.
In case you missed it, McFadden, the standout Razorbacks running back who earned All-SEC honors as a freshman last season by running for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns, is doubtful for Arkansas' much-anticipated opener against USC after undergoing surgery Saturday to repair a dislocated toe. How did he obtain said toe injury? According to a police report, McFadden was involved in a fight in the parking lot outside a Little Rock club at 4:20 a.m. Saturday. A security guard told the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette that McFadden was kicking at a combatant who allegedly tried to steal his stepbrother's car (someone in the fight apparently left it running) and "his shoe came off and his foot hit the pavement." Adding insult to injury -- literally -- someone else managed to make off with the car.
It's moments like these that make college coaches tear their hair out. Presumably, Houston Nutt has at some point lectured his players on the importance of staying out of trouble. He, like the rest of us, is probably reasonable enough not to demand that his star running back spend his Friday nights cooped up in his dorm room reading Socrates. He does, however, probably say something to the effect of, "You're a public figure, people are going to try to mess with you. If you find yourself in a volatile situation ... WALK AWAY." (And don't stay out until 4 in the morning. As Steve Rushin recently wrote, nearly all of sports' blotter items seem to take place in the wee hours of the morning).
Not only did McFadden violate this golden rule, but he did so with the one part of his body a running back needs most -- his foot! Not only that, he's now jeopardized his chances of playing in one of the biggest games in his school's recent history. It's one thing when a guy gets suspended for an opener against Middle Tennessee State; McFadden might have to miss USC. Even if he heals in time, one can only hope Nutt would keep him out anyway as punishment for his stupidity.
And with that, I'm off to catch a flight to Chicago for Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be posting Blog reports from there both days
I disagree slightly with you on this one mandel. I can see walking away from a volatile altercation, however, you can't stand idolly by as someone tries to steal your or someone you knows car. I think loosing his shoe while trying to kick him was a bit unlucky, as is eventually loosing the car as well, but I don't think he did anything wrong, nor if he heals in time should he be punished
Much easier said than done, but walking away would have been the right thing to do. Cars can be replaced, where as pieces of your career (to include appearing/playing in HUGE games) cannot be replaced. Hopefully he heals in time...
I don't know why someone that age would even be at or near a night club let alone at 4:20am 7 days before fall camp starts. Felix Jones is more than good enough to handle the RB duties. His yards per carry were the same as McFadden's a year ago at 6.3. The Hogs will be fine and when (if) McFadden returns and is healthy we will be that much better. GO HOGS!
Oh, c'mon, someone was trying to steal his brother's car. Yeah, I'm sure he wished he hadn't broken his toe in the process, and, yeah, he probably shouldn't have been out at four in the morning, but this seems a more reasonable excuse for a fight than most I've heard.
HELLO???? To ALL of those who saying he was right to "stand up" and fight over a car - you're nuts! Someone steals my car .. that's why I have insurance! Put it this way .. he's out at 4AM - crazy to begin with BUT keep in mind what the guys he's going up against are OUT TOO! Don't lose your damn life over a car!
It sucks that he broke his toe and that was a truly unlucky event, but you just can't stand by and let someone steal your car. He should get credit and sympathy for his actions not stupid writers like you calling for his head. What would you do if someone tried to steal your car, jerk?
Yeah, Stew...I've got to agree with most of your posts. Family definitely comes before football. That in no way is stupid. It doesn't appear the kid went out looking for trouble. You're implying that he should have thought at the time "Look, someone's stealing my brother's car...let me not try and stop him because coach said to stay out of trouble".
How much respect do you think his teammates would have had for him if he had done nothing. I know if I were his teammate, I'd be thinking--man, he left his own family out there like that...what would he do when the going gets tough on Saturday afternoon.
poor judgement should be rewarded like this everytime. yes, someone was stealing a car, but the missed national exposure could end up costing more than whatever car might be worth. a few draft spots or even a round make millions of dollars of difference.
there are only 2 scenarios when someone kicks in a bar fight.. 1) he is a little girl and is doing the whole slapping and kicking windmill motion... ya'll know what I am talking about.. or 2) you are kicking the person whil they are down.. either case one would think insurance would cover the car being stolen.. I would find it very amusing if this toe issue causes this kid to not make it into the NFL.. another dumb jock like Clarrett
It's not like he got stuck in a drive-thru window at a fast food place, he was defending the property of his family. As to how he behaved in the situation, I can not condemn him. But you do make a good point: things like that tend to happen after 4 A.M. and the best way to avoid those situations is not to put yourself in them.
And to the person whose parents say nothing good happens after 2 A.M. but sleep: your parents didn't have much fun in college...
No one reads Socrates. People read Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle, who all wrote about Socrates.
Socrate didn't write; actually, he hated writing for fear that it would ruin memory.
And even if McFadden could read Socrates, the S-man would be a bad role model. Socrates chose death over exile; so, clearly he wouldn't be a role model for anyone asked to "walk away" from a situation.
Nothing good happens after midnight. Presumably the young man is not even legal so what is he doing in a bar environment anyway? He might have been trying to help his brother-in-law but he let down the other 85 or so "brothers" on his team.
Come on people!! If his step-brother's car was left running then he deserves to have it stolen. 4AM is no time for a blue-chip athlete and future star to be out on the town and certainly not a month before the football season starts. Besides I'm sure the car could have been "replaced" by a Razorback booster.
The thing is that it sounds like someone WASN'T trying to steal his car, he just thought someone was because one of his friends accidentally left it running. The irony is that while he was fighting the "car thief," someone else DID steal his car. That just seems like a doubly-boneheaded move.
My question is how did the situation arise that his brothers car was being stolen? I'm not going to say whether he was right or wrong for defending his brother, just that I think there's more to the story than what's being told.
Is it too late to call for a re-vote so that Kenneth Darby can take his rightful spot on the preseason first-team All-SEC team at RB in place of McFadden? It was a bad choice even before Darren hurt his toe. And has anyone stopped to consider the irony that a player for the "Razorbacks" will miss a game because he hurt one of his "little piggies"?
He was at an establishment that had been ordered closed by a local judge then reopened with "additional security". There have been no less than 30 police responses and four shootings at this club in the last year. Anyone from Little Rock knows this place is notorious and he knew the reputation of the establishemnt before he went there. However, I do hope he recovers fully.
Most of you bloggers are way off base. This issue is NOT about a car or about honoring family, the issue IS about decision making. The stupidity occurred long before he ever found his way to a nightclub parking lot.
He should not have been at the nightclub at this time in the morning in the first place. However, I am sure if he had known he was gonna break his toe he wouldn't have kicked so many times. What i am trying to say is he was just defending his brothers property (car)when an accident (broken toe) happened. He is one hell on a tailback and I can't wait to watch him when he is ready. Until he gets ready, Felix Jones is more than capable of handling the job.
"He was at an establishment that had been ordered closed by a local judge then reopened with 'additional security'. There have been no less than 30 police responses and four shootings at this club in the last year. Anyone from Little Rock knows this place is notorious and he knew the reputation of the establishemnt before he went there."
"The thing is that it sounds like someone WASN'T trying to steal his car, he just thought someone was because one of his friends accidentally left it running. The irony is that while he was fighting the 'car thief,' someone else DID steal his car."
must be the only ones with a post-high school education or not drinking the Arkansas/SEC kool-aid. I hate USC, but reading the ignorant responses from some of the posters who attack Stuart instead of the actions of the player, well, I'll enjoy watching USC score 70 in the Hogs own barn.