It has been 2½ years since Josh Jarboe did something he shouldn't have and got kicked out of the Oklahoma football program
Are you ready to forgive him?
Nah, that's a silly question. He cost Bob Stoops some PR points was all. Stoops brought Jarboe to OU despite the kid's gun charges while in high school. Jarboe repaid him by freestyle rapping about guns and killing. The video hit the Internet, he hit the road.
The Sooners carried on just fine without him, playing for a national championship in what was supposed to be his freshman season. Some fans at the time held it against Stoops that Jarboe even showed up in Norman. But that was two Big 12 titles, a BCS victory and a Heisman Trophy ago.
So really, what's to forgive?
Better to ask: Are you ready to feel sorry for him?
Jarboe has resurfaced at Arkansas State, his fourth school in those 2½ years. From OU it was on to Troy. Jarboe sat out a season, was cited for harassment and disorderly conduct, then transferred to Northeast Mississippi Community College. He caught 42 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns for the 5-4 Tigers last fall.
Now he's ready to try Div. I football again. Just maybe, he's also ready to account for his mistakes.
"I've never had a recruiting meeting like that before, where a kid is as emotional, breaking down and crying and just thinking that somebody is willing to listen to his story," Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze told the Jonesboro sun. "It's up to him to rewrite his story, and we want to help alongside of that."
Dave Miller of the National Football Post noticed that quote and added: "Hopefully, this time Jarboe is able to realize his potential and make an impact at Arkansas State. More importantly, the hope here is that Jarboe finishes getting his education and that he's able to have a long, healthy life away from the spotlight."
What do you think?
Maybe you don't. Maybe you could care less about a dude you haven't thought about in 2½ years.
Or maybe you still resent what he did when he got to OU, or what he did to Stoops, and feel he's getting just what he deserves.
Maybe you feel he was just acting his age in a college dorm and, despite the gun charges, OU gave him too quick a hook. (Quick aside… A friend of mine who believes this to be the case pointed out just the other day that the Sooner basketball team takes the court to "Bring 'Em Out." The second line to that rap is "It's hard to yell when the barrels in ya mouth.")
Or maybe you're like me. You didn't blame OU for protecting itself at the time, particularly after its football coach had stuck his neck out for a troubled kid.
Just as you don't blame Freeze for sticking his out right now. You don't blame him for thinking Jarboe can still be a great player and an even better story, that maybe the fourth time's the charm.