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Friday, May 31, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Charlie Weis alone couldn’t salvage Chris Martin

KU defensive end Chris Martin, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, arrived on campus in time for spring drills.

KU defensive end Chris Martin, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, arrived on campus in time for spring drills.

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I believe more was at work in Charlie Weis’ bringing problem child Chris Martin to Lawrence than setting him loose on quarterbacks. Martin’s football talent, of course, played a huge part in it, but so, I suspect, did the Father Flanagan side to the Kansas University football coach.

Weis is equal parts braggart and unusually humble coach. He’s a smart, down-to-earth funny guy around familiar faces. With strangers, he can come off as a distant grouch. He’s a pal to glitzy celebrities, yet such a blue-collar dresser and family-first man. His complex psychological makeup seems to include a healthy dose of a burning desire to rescue wayward souls.

The probable-cause paperwork in the Martin case alleges in Count 1 that he did “unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously take property, to wit: U.S. Currency and marijuana, from the person or presence of another ... by threat of bodily harm or by force while armed with a dangerous weapon.”

Already, whispers that bringing so many junior-college transfers (18 signed) to Lawrence in the same year was asking for trouble have grown to a roar, thanks to the horrific allegations leveled against Martin. Regarding the young man’s chances of maintaining a life not defined by penitentiary rules, it bodes well for Martin that he has no criminal record. That won’t help him keep a uniform.

Martin brought a trail of instability with him to Kansas. He spent most of his youth in Oakland, Calif. He moved to Colorado for his final couple of high school years. He made an oral commitment to attend Notre Dame and backed out after Weis was fired. He then signed with the University of California, but transferred to Florida, citing distractions. There, he was cited for possessing a small amount of marijuana and repeatedly drew criticism for his social-media postings. He has made commitments to three FBS schools and hasn’t played and isn’t likely to play a down for any of them.

Weis not only believed in his own ability to reach Martin in a way no coach before him had, he seemed to enjoy the challenge. The coach lit up when he talked about the muscular defensive end, a man so quick for his size, just not quick enough, apparently, to get out of his own way. Weis thought his could be the loudest voice in Martin’s head. If the alleged victim’s depiction of the facts holds true or close to it, Charlie thought wrong.

Viewing it with a relatively stable mind, it’s always impossible to understand how someone with such a great opportunity, such enormous earning potential, could put it all at risk by doing something no rational human would consider a wise decision. Martin, a sculpted 6-foot-4, 260-pound fat-burning specimen, is a model of physical fitness. Too often, we equate physical fitness with health, forgetting it’s only half the equation. Generations from now, we might devote as much time researching, testing and treating mental fitness, but it first must escape the realm of taboo. On that front, we have such a long way to go.

I came away from my lone one-on-one interview with Martin excited that he used such raw language and had the sort of personality that lends itself well to playing football, especially on defense. I also felt as if he was what we decades ago referred to as “a different sort of cat,” with a lot of junk-yard dog in him.

He amounts to Exhibit A of why recruiting so many junior-college players, a one-time strategy by Weis in order to jump-start the program, has its risks. Weis has said that in future classes he would like to have a balance of 75 percent high school, 25 percent juco players.

Most athletes who attend junior colleges do so for at least one of three reasons: 1. They want to develop their bodies and skills so that they can draw more attractive offers than they received out of high school; 2. They need to improve their academic transcripts to gain admission to the school of their choice; 3. Behavior problems.

In Martin’s case, Door No. 3 landed him at San Francisco City College and then KU. Who knows where next.

For every such move that backfires, Weis will become more selective in opening Door No. 3.

In researching personality types who tend toward rescuing people, I stumbled upon a website for the Sjolander Road Fellowship, an organization that grew out of a bible-study group out of Bayton, Texas. In the writings on that website, a most interesting rhetorical question was posed: “How do I rescue someone who won’t contribute to his own salvation?”

Comments

John McCoy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Let's not forget that we have only the police account of what happened. Often these accounts are engineered to make the locals appear to be protecting the public from some grave threat to the public's well being. Perhaps there was no grave threat. Let's let the actual facts come out. Never trust wholly any police report. They can and do lie and exaggerate.

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Keith Hummel 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next week with this case. I believe Martin and the other two have a hearing scheduled for tomorrow. I'm expecting to hear about some sort of diversion or plea deal. I'm also expecting to learn that this episode wasn't quite as bad as originally portrayed. I don't have any inside information, it's just my gut feel based on what we know and by what has been posted on Twitter and Instagram.

The next question, then, is how will Weis react to the legal decision. Clearly some sort of punishment will be handed out, but it's looking more and more like that punishment might be a suspension of some flavor, and not a banishment from the program. I hope so, both for Chris Martin and for for KU. One thing is certain, Weis will do everything he can to help this kid but will hold him eminently accountable. If he's gonna stay, Chris will have to earn Charlie's trust back by being a model student and by keeping his nose clean. I could be wrong, but I don't think Chris Martin is out of chances just yet, and we could still see him terrorizing QB's in a Jayhawk uniform.

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Terry N Tom Denner 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Charlie like a lot of us gave a kid a second chance and it ended up biting Charlie in the Butt. I do not hold any hard feelings against Charlie. The only thing I am upset about is that the kid had or has any common sense!! What the hell were you thinking Chris ?? No player is above the law at any College. Hope you do get your act together and play football some where. You can cross off KU off your list though. Someone will step up and fill his shoes. Go Hawks Dream Team 2013 !!!

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BABBOY 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, you would think Martin had played three years and took Ku to consecutive BCS bowls. I really have a problem with fans and too many reporters put players on a pedestal before they have even played a down of football. Guy is not worth all this attention. Probably would have tried to play stoned and sucked anyway.

But, whatever, I am posting about Keegan's Father Flanagan comments. Just silly.

Coach Weis gave this guy a second chance or forth chance or whatever it was in terms of re-tries on the hopes of getting 10 plus sacks each of the next two years. Weis hoped he could keep on the field to win games.

It had nothing to do with Father Flanagan....

One of many beefs with Ku fans is this nonsense of falling in love with players. Ya all got pretend they are great clean cut all-Americans. The reality is thugs are frequently good at playing ball. Most fan bases accept that fact.

Not Ku. You morons have to sell yourself on foolishly believing guys like Lester Earl, Leon Graves or more recently the Morris twins are just good hearted fun loving dudes --- not thugs that can play ball but do not much else.

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betterbelieveit 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Newsflash: decriminalize weed, and allow it for medical use, and this incident probably never happens. Martin buys from a dispensary, uses it as a doctor prescribes, and he doesn't gets mixed up with unsavory characters. And if you are wondering, I don't use it.

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badair 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What I can't understand about this situation is why we feel it's necessary to award multi-thousand dollar scholarships to young men from other states who have shown their disdain for the rules we all have to live by? Is Kansas such a wasteland for raw talent that we have to scrape the inner city cast offs to compete with the rest of the conference? I wonder how many recruiting trips were made to Holton, Hiawatha, Centralia, Larned or Ransom prior to the 1968 team that we all loved so much? Do you think today's kids aren't still out there putting up hay and wishing they could afford to go to college? What responsibility do we have for other state's problem children---even if they have great SPARQ numbers?

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Tony Bandle 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Tom, I have critizied you in the past therefore it is only fair I complement you as well.

I think you did a marvelous job of presenting the general scope of the situation in a fair, non-judgemental manner, while injecting a legit feeling of sadness and frustration regarding Chris' unfortunate choices and the waste of his talent and opportunity.

This young man is at a critical juncture in his life and the two paths in front of him could not be more diametrically opposed. He could either ignore this siren screaming, red flag warning thus spiralling him out of control and eventually self destructing or he take this as a last chance wake up call that he must grab to pull himself out of this hole.

Only Chris Martin can save Chris Martin!!

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Keith Hummel 10 months, 2 weeks ago

There are some things about this story that just don't add up. Questions I have:

  • If you look up the so-called "weed man" (his name is in the arrest report), he hardly looks the part of a hardened drug dealer. He's also not an especially big guy, so it wouldn't take 2 large football players to shake him down.

  • Martin's attorney says the gun was a toy, not a real weapon. Did these guys purchase a toy gun just to shake this kid down? And what impact does that have on the charges? Clearly the intent to do harm was not quite as serious as initially reported.

  • What weed dealer calls the police to report a deal-gone-bad, thereby incriminating himself? Wouldn't most dealers simply write it off as the cost of doing business and move on? The only plausible explanation to me is that the dealer got squeezed by the cops, and ratted these guys out as part of a plea deal. But if that's the case, are the cops out to get bigger fish?

  • If the "weed man" was dealing with Martin, what other athletes did he do business with? Chris Martin is new in town. How did he get hooked up with a source so quickly unless one or more persons steered him to this guy? Who was that person(s)?

  • A poster on phog.net, who claims to be in the know (take it with a huge grain of salt), says the weed man initially robbed one or more of these guys, and that Martin and his buddies went to get their weed and money back (ala OJ style). If true, what impact does that have on the charges?

  • People who know Jeremiah Edwards say this is completely out of character for him and he would be the last person you would suspect for something like this? I know people often do things you wouldn't think possible, but it still begs the question of what happened to him, and why would he suddenly do something so out of character.

Not trying to make excuses for Martin because I still think he screwed up big time. I've just learned that when things don't quite add up the truth is often very different from what is being presented. It's possible, for example, that Martin didn't realize what he was getting himself into, and couldn't extricate himself from the situation once it went bad. If so, a suspension may still be a possibility for him (although I highly doubt it). I just hope this isn't the tip of the iceberg in some larger investigation/witch hunt.

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ku_foaf 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Hate to be mean, but sometimes you can't fix stupid. This was just stupid, squandering an opportunity over some pot. I am assuming he is actually guilty. Unfortunately, over the years, there has been way to many incidents with KU football player committing crimes and fighting. It just can't be tolerated. I remember some players under Don Fambrough kicked in some dorm doors and stole stereos. I remember some players fighting and beating up a 37 year old KU librarian under Mike Gottfried...what lead to that was kind of hard to imagine, but it was in a bar.

Many, many fights in the 80s when Gammons was still there. Some incidents when several huge guys ganged up a normal sized guy and said something to the effect they were "supporting their teammates." The owner once wrote a note to the Lawrence paper saying he was tired of it.

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iamakufan 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't remember specifics but I think even Bill Snyder had some problem children. And so did Bill Self. And Roy Williams. It happens. A coach has to make judgment calls and sometimes those won't work out as desired. It's a shame about Chris Martin. He is wasting such a potentially great and lucrative future. Sad.

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jay_cheese 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bad news for sure. Funny how no one is personally attacking CW for conduct like this like they did for TG.

Might as well close your eyes to aviod the massive trainwreck KU football will be for the next 3/4 yrs under CW. No worries, barring the actual results, we'll still have good quotes and press conferences to feel swell about...

Sad but I wish Martin would've rather gotten stuck in the TBell Drivethru window....

Looking to see major improvement this next season...keeping my fingers crossed that we'll double our win total from last season. Rockchalk!

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gchawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The headline of this article, and most of the comments, gives the impression that he's off the team, but I haven't read any official announcement yet. Is Martin off the team, or is it just conjecture at this point?

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jayhawkinATL 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice...

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Pork_Ribs 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Horrific" should be reserved for crimes where a violent act actually takes place. Though that line could have been crossed pretty quickly in this case...it didn't.

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kufanman88 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This kid is gone and sooner the better. I am just glad he did this before the season started, so he didn't completely destroy the team's chemistry and drive to win.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bottom line is if Weis puts this kid back on the field in any capacity, be it defensive end or towel boy, he's not the disciplinarian he claimed to be.

Simple....guilty or not...give this kid the boot. We have enough problems (I can think of 11 from last season off the top of my head) to be concerned about keeping a 4-star thug's nose clean....not to mention trying to justify it to the media and fans.

I want to win more than anyone, but there should be a line. Draw it, Charlie.

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jakejayhawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Not to trivialize the sad story, but who reports "stolen marijuana"? I mean, if it was Colorado or Washington I could understand, but Lawrence?

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jayhawk_4_life2 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Guys I don't know the kid at all. I wasn't there to know if he did or didn't. But I have a real hard time thinking that a person who has no record (but is a "bad egg" meaning that he has had issues with the law before) would find himself in jail for ARMED Robbery. Again I don't know that he did or didn't. Second I don't understand how he can be charged with “unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously take property, to wit: U.S. Currency (yes I get this one-- make sense that you can charge someone for this) and marijuana (but since this is not colorado -- how can you charge someone for stealing this--It's illegal to possess), from the person or presence of another"

I just don't get it. Now sadly I don't think he will ever play a down this year but since he is only Junior maybe he could pull a Darrian Miller and go to another school (Butler) and come back after proving to stay somewhere for a year+ and staying out of trouble. Just a thought.

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Jim Jackson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

He took money and weed from a drug dealer; I would like to know more facts before we all castigate Chris Martin. Right now, all we have is the word of the accusers and that is simply not enough.

I find the adjudications on this site to be hilarious.

If it turns out that he in fact did not commit any crimes, I still think a suspension is warranted , but I don't believe he should be expelled from the team/ KU.

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jhawkrulz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It will definitely be interesting. Chris Martin doesn't have a criminal record, does something like this. I'm going to guess that there will be some plea bargains, some changes, and Chris Martin will play football again (not necessarily at KU). I think the NFL will look right past this, if he can hit a QB. I'm not saying it is right/wrong, I'm just saying that the ability to hit a QB will bring you a lot of "second chances".

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Jim Stauffer 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Just so sad that Chris could not recognize both the love CW had for him and the ability to help himself if he would confide in CW.

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dstnku34 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Generations from now, we might devote as much time researching, testing and treating mental fitness, but it first must escape the realm of taboo."

This is an extremely compassionate statement for a sports article. I am truly impressed and respect this sentiment.

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JHWKDW 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Well it sucks, but when it comes down to it he couldn't help himself.

I certainly hope the guy from Ohio with a checkered past sees that it can end real quick.

Character counts.I know we will not get more Turner Gill Cookies and milk kinda guys or Tim Tebow kinda guys, but boy we got to make sure this does not happen again.I know boys will be boys, but there is a difference between a brawl out or some dumb little youthful indiscretion, but this crime is inexcusable,

Hey I know crazy things happen out there but you got to Instead of the team and us talking about the team, we are bogged down trying to clean up messes like this.For all the crap Coach Gill got, I know he went overboard, but this was the reason I think he tried to keep a figurative leash on the guys, and tried to do the character thing.Instead of the team focusing on getting better, and us fans talking about the upcoming season we have to do this. No more of this PLEASE!

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Jacob Zutterman 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Already, whispers that bringing so many junior-college transfers (18 signed) to Lawrence in the same year was asking for trouble have grown to a roar, thanks to the horrific allegations leveled against Martin."

I'm guessing that KSU fans have just gone off about how KU is supposably carrying out a clean program... Three names: Thomas Clayton, Leon Patton, Ell Roberson. Clean program ey?

As for Martin, thanks dude. Later!

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jayhawkintx1973 10 months, 2 weeks ago

How much did Chris get in order to lose a contract potentially worth a few million in the NFL in two years? This was very stupid. It's not worth it! There was nothing worth this folks. If you need help just ask for help. Nobody would frown on you if you asked for help, but when you go the other way, well I don't feel sorry for you. You hurt the team, you hurt the university, and you hurt yourself.

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Joe Ross 10 months, 2 weeks ago

“How do I rescue someone who won’t contribute to his own salvation?”

You DON'T, that's how...

Damnit, Chris! All of KU liked you and you didn't play a single snap of the ball.

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David Leathers 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"The coach lit up when he talked about the muscular defensive end, a man so quick for his size, just not quick enough, apparently, to get out of his own way."

Comment removed for violation of user usage agreement.

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okiedave 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Charlie is going to have to gamble on some players. You win some, you lose some. KU lost a good player. KU will bring up another player to replace him. Martin has lost a lot more and that salvage job is going to be tough.

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