"When I heard what those players did, I was angry," says Richie Bennett, 19, a second-year student at Cal. "I had met these guys. I thought, 'How could you guys do that?' They got what they deserved."
Had Richie's brother known of the parking scam before January? "This had been going on since my freshman year," says Drew Bennett, who completed eight of his 16 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown against Boise State. "I thought, You know, guys, this is bulls—. First, it's bad karma. Second, it's disrespectful." So he said... nothing.
But what if Bennett, as someone with a heightened sensitivity to the needs of the handicapped, had berated his teammates for their callous conduct? What if a year or two ago this scrub, this underclassman, this walk-on had defied the class structure of Division I-A locker rooms and admonished his teammates to quit abusing the system? Would anyone have listened? Or would Bennett have become a pariah? Would those seven starters be on a flight to Columbus this week for what should be the Bruins' stiffest road test of the season? Or would Bennett not be on that flight?
"Drew wanted to say something because it was wrong," says Richie, "but he felt bad, because those guys are like his brothers. He was in a difficult spot."
Some of the players who used the illegal placards still believe they weren't hurting anyone. "People called us monsters for taking handicapped spaces," says fullback Durell Price, one of the 11 who sat out last week. "Nine times out of 10, guys were just using the [handicapped] placards to park for free in regular spaces. We're not monsters. It was all about the money."
Drew, however, sees things differently. "People have no clue how hard it is for handicapped people," he says. "When Richie and I go to [Oakland] A's games, it's more convenient for him to bring his walker instead of a wheelchair. Then someone takes the handicapped spot, so we have to park far away. He's exhausted by the time we get as close as that illegally parked car. I'm often tempted to kick a dent in it."
Should a walk-on backup quarterback have blown the whistle on his teammates? Would you have had the courage to do that?
Georgia's Newest Weapon
There's Another Edwards in Town
All his life, Georgia freshman receiver Terrence Edwards has been known as Robert Edwards's little brother. Last Saturday, Terrence made a name for himself by catching 10 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's 38-7 rout of Utah State. Robert, who was a running back for the Bulldogs from 1994 to 1996 and who had just completed a stellar rookie season with the New England Patriots when he suffered a career-ending knee injury while playing flag football in February at the Pro Bowl, was on hand for his little brother's eye-opener. "He was giving me tips as the game was going on," said Terrence, who fell two yards shy of breaking Georgia's single-game record for receiving yards. "I'm blessed to have a big brother. I think that he was injured just so he could be sent here to watch over me."
Louisville's Blazing Start
Cardinals Light Up Kentucky