legarette_blount

The news out of Eugene, Oregon is that University of Oregon tailback LeGarette Blount, who had been originally suspended for the season after losing his shit and punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the opening game of his senior campaign, was reinstated by the Pac-10 conference yesterday after sitting out the Ducks last eight games.  He will be eligible to play again for Oregon this Saturday when the Ducks take on Arizona State.

“After a thorough review of the situation, I am convinced LeGarrette Blount paid a significant and appropriate price for the mistakes he made on the field, and that he has learned important life-long lessons,” Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said in accepting Oregon’s request for Blount’s reinstatement.

Blount issued a statement thanking Oregon coach Chip Kelly for giving him a second chance.

“Now it is up to me to prove to people that their lasting impressions of me are not what they saw in Boise,” he said.

We rarely applaud a college football program’s handling of internal discipline, but we have to say that we think Oregon handled this situation the right way.  Kelly said at the time of Blount’s suspension that the running back would still be a member of the team and would be allowed to practice, but would not be allowed to play. He was allowed to keep his scholarship, and although the university’s athletic department did say in no uncertain terms that Blount’s “suspension would remain in effect through any bowl games the Ducks may play in,” and that “he will not be allowed to participate in any games,” Kelly had talked to Blount and had given him an avenue to redemption.  And Blount followed Kelly’s plan to the letter. After becoming a father, Blount consulted with  football’s new self-help guru Tony Dungy and then issued a public apology through the  University of Oregon’s daily newspaper that offered no excuses for his actions, but did request that he be given a second chance by fans and students. Blount has also talked with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, and former NBA player Kermit Washington, who is famous for nearly killing Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich with one punch in an on-court fracas while Washington was playing for the Lakers in 1977. What Blount did at Boise was unacceptable, but it was not unforgivable, and we’re happy to see him back.

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