It's been a tough few weeks to be a Colorado football player. The other day in economics class I overheard a student say, "The football players are nothing but thugs. They get a free ride and they embarrass the school." A couple days later I was on campus when two guys on bikes rode by and screamed, "I hate f———football players." The entire team got an anonymous e-mail that said, "I hope you are proud of yourself. Look what you have done. I hope you burn in hell." I get anonymous messages on my cellphone, people saying, "You f———people are ruining the University of Colorado. I'll never watch CU play again."
That hurts. I grew up in Colorado rooting for the Buffs. I love CU.
I understand that people are upset. This is serious business. But I also believe people ought to think about who they're cursing. Most players weren't even here in 2001, when the sex party allegedly occurred. Except for what I've seen in the media, I've never heard of any such parties, and neither has anyone I've talked to. The recruiting weekends I know about are nothing special. I hosted a recruit in 2002. We went to a couple of parties, stood around and went home at I a.m., for team curfew. It was really boring. And yet people judge and generalize, and every day we face so much anger—especially the black players. Boulder is not a diverse place. Some of the accusers have described their assailants as "big and black." This college is supposed to be liberal, but black players are shunned more than the rest of us. That's wrong.
The worst thing is that the people who are reacting this way don't know about the program. Every season Coach Barnett had meetings with us about alcohol use and how to interact properly with women. He would control us every hour of every day if he could. But we're college students; we go to parties. Things can happen that no coach could be responsible for.
For now I keep to myself as much as possible. I used to get involved in classroom discussions, but I don't anymore for fear the talk will come back to the football team. My teammates and I are in the middle of winter conditioning. Some days we'll walk out after lifting and see 100 media people. We just brace ourselves for the next allegation and try to get away. Things are real bad now, but eventually people will have to look at the facts. When they do, I hope they'll judge us fairly.