Last night the University of Louisville Cardinals saw Lamar Jackson win the Heisman trophy for the first time in their school’s history. Jackson, coming off a historical season, was the runaway favorite for most of the year and took home over 2,000 first place votes, leaving Deshaun Watson and the other Heisman hopefuls in the dust.
My dislike for UofL, Bobby Petrino, Rick Pitino, and Tom Jurich, in particular, is well documented. But over the years I have tried my best to not go after the players, because they’re just kids and most of them are extremely good people, Gorgui Dieng, Peyton Siva, and Donovan Mitchell come to mind as good examples.
Even players that I didn’t like, Montrezl Harrell for instance, I grew to like because I met him in person and he was as nice of a kid as you could come across. In my estimation, it’s completely OK to not like the teams or the coaches, or even the institution itself, but like the individual players.
Which brings me to Lamar Jackson. All season long, Jackson was nothing short of spectacular. From leaping Syracuse players in a single bound, to rushing for over 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns, to throwing for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, he was as special of a player as we have seen in recent memory. In just so happened he played for our rival school.
That’s why I was so disheartened when I looked at social media last night and saw people bashing him for the clothes on his back and his acceptance speech, a speech in which he thanked God and his own mother before he said anything else.
Was his speech the most articulate? No, but it was from the heart and it was genuine. Jackson is one of the youngest players to ever receive the award and I highly doubt he expected to be in New York when the season began. Not many people did, if any.
And I would challenge anyone that mocked him to go in front of millions of people and do the same without being nervous.
As for his jacket, he caught flack because it was from Macy’s and cost less than $100. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m certain he’s not getting paid for playing football for UofL, so I doubt he had much money to burn.
But he was expected to sign all of these footballs that people will no doubt sell for profit online because they have his signature on them and he will never see a penny of that money:
But I digress, I’m getting on my soap box and off the topic at hand.
There is plenty not to like about UofL and their sports programs, but Lamar Jackson is a bright spot. I enjoyed watching him play this season and it will be interesting to watch him next season as well.
And I don’t begrudge Louisville fans for being insanely proud of his accomplishments. I recall all of BBN puffing our collective chests over Anthony Davis when he won every single college basketball award under the sun.
I’m a Kentucky fan, I like Lamar Jackson, and I’m not afraid to admit it.