Friday, May 31, 2013


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.


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?”


okiedave 9 years, 2 months 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.

Bobby Burch 9 years, 2 months ago

Nice column, Tom. I enjoyed your thoughtfulness and cander. I hope Martin's able to turn his life around, and perhaps find meaning through more virtuous pursuits. Ultimately, he's the man that hasn't to make the tough choices to grow up, no coach or adult can do that for him.

741hawk 9 years, 2 months ago

That was a very good opinion column, Tom.

hawk316 9 years, 2 months ago

Yes, another nice article, Tom.

And I have to admit, I rather like having a football coach with a little "Father Flanagan" in him. Life is much more than wins and losses; it's much more about making a positive difference in the lives of others. You can't save 'em all, but I'm glad Weis (assuming your theory is correct) cares enough to try to save some.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

This was a very solid piece of writing, Tom. Well done.

David Leathers 9 years, 2 months 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.

Joe Ross 9 years, 2 months 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.

Micky Baker 9 years, 2 months 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.

Jacob Zutterman 9 years, 2 months 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!

NikeCortez 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow what an incoherent post, and what does supposably mean? Did Chris steal your weed?

Katie Bieber 9 years, 2 months 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.

KUFan90 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure it's a sincere sentiment, but serious question here. Is researching, testing, and treating mental fitness really taboo? What is taboo about it?

Does this refer to being able to give someone like a potential juco transfer a mental evaluation in the same way they might be given a physical evaluation, and if warning flags are identified, get them some mental help?

I would hope that as obvious as Martin's checkered past was, they would have immediately hooked him up with a counselor regardless.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 2 months ago

I took it to mean that the perception of mental illness is the problem. Until people look at it as just the same as physical illness, everyone wants to shove it under the rug instead of treating it.

Katie Bieber 9 years, 2 months ago

Exactly! One might seek treatment immediately for a bacterial infection, but hesitant to admit therapy is necessary or appropriate if one feels depressed or chronically angry. People need to feel safe to admit they should seek treatment, athletes or not.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 2 months ago

Oldalum is correct; there is still a huge stigma associated with mental illness. I believe this is what Keegan was trying to say.

Jim Stauffer 9 years, 2 months 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.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 2 months 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".

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 9 years, 2 months ago

Newsflash - he's not going to the NFL. He hasn't played a down in college and is obviously mentally unstable.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually he was a highly ranked HS player and had offers from major programs including Notre Dame and ended up at Florida. He also played 2 years of JuCo FBall where was one of the top players in the country resulting in offers from major schools, including KU. Of course he is going to get a look by the NFL.

kay_you 9 years, 2 months ago

If he has the talent the NFL will overlook his off the field problems and so will some colleges. Nebraska comes to mind.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 2 months 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.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 2 months ago

Easy, slugger.

I don't care if he stole M&Ms from a trick-or-treater or nuclear launch codes from the federal government. He put himself in a destructive and dangerous situation, and whether these charges stick or he's proven not guilty, he does not deserve to put that uniform on.

Judge away, people. This situation is pretty clear cut. Whatever he did, whomever he did it was really, really, stupid.

And don't imply that people are dense or ignorant for assuming it was stupid.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 2 months ago

So you're saying just becaus he keeps bad company he should be expelled from the team? That is comical.

Not enough facts out there yet to definitievly state what he did or did not do.

If he is cleared of any wrongdoing, he should not be kicked off the team.

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 9 years, 2 months ago

They found evidence from the crimes at the residences of the perpetrators, that is significantly more than just the word of the accusers.

They call that "evidence."

Jim Jackson 9 years, 2 months ago

Really? They found weed and money. Sounds like concrete evidence.

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 9 years, 2 months ago

Why would a dealer implicate themselves (and then have it corroborated by the finding of said weed and money) ? Would both the perps and accusers fingerprints be on the container or bag that the pot is in? Can the perps account for where they got the money? Can they account for where they got the pot (other than robbing the accuser?

Some of that is evidence and some is just an extremely strong indication that they are guilty. Dude - he's off the team and should be. In fact, he's probably going to prison. I pay my taxes to put donkeys like this in jail.

Joe Ross 9 years, 2 months ago

RE: "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."

If the allegations prove true, he was involved in a crime where a weapon was brandished. Even if he didn't pull it himself, he would have had to know a gun was going to be involved. So you want to reinstate a guy who would be willing to threaten someone's very life while you're trying to build a respectable football program?

The kid needs some social rehabilitation. I would like to see him in football again. But AFTER he gets help, and certainly not here at Kansas. Charlie's reputation would take a huge hit if he accepted him back and something of a similar nature happened. I guess Darrian Miller is in a similar situation, but it's possible that Miller's offense was not as serious in nature (I don't know the details).

Jeremy Hays 9 years, 2 months 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.

Joe Ross 9 years, 2 months ago

The argument of personal incredulity holds no water. Either he did it or he didn't, but our disbelief has no bearing on the facts of the case.

I sympathize with you. I was excited about Miller as a player. But the honest truth is he has some social maladjustment that needs to be addressed and fixed. And make no mistake, if there is any shred of proof that Martin was involved, Weis will boot him. I dont think he should be accepted back if thats the case, given the serious nature of this offense, but Weis and law enforcement know more than I, and Charlie may decide to reinstate him. But I dont see that happening without Martin taking the path of Darrian Miller. Football is not Martin's main concern right now.

jakejayhawk 9 years, 2 months 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?

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

That’s kind of funny. I’m sure it was a little more complicated though, than simply “Hello 911? Some dude just stole my weed!”

I imagine the gun in the face probably got things rolling.

bhsnowhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I can only imagine it went something like this

Brad Farha 9 years, 2 months ago

good gawd that's hilarious. thanks for sharing.

79ictjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Thanks bhsnow, that was right up there with Dave Chappelle's 'Yellow Cake' clip. Hysterical stuff.

The_Big_Bee 9 years, 2 months ago

If he had enough pot to sell, he was confessing to a felony by reporting it stolen. I'd prosecute the robbers, then prosecute the "victim".

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 2 months 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.

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

He already drew it. What more do you want to hear?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm as hard nosed as anyone ( except you, I guess ) when it comes to handing out proper discipline. Ask my kid - my son was the last person in his school of 1,800 to have a cell phone, and that was only because they had to have one to go on a trip to Florida. ( I'm a MONSTER )

But your " guilty or not " statement is just dumb. If he's guilty - hang him in the town square if that makes you happy - but if he's not guilty..................

kufanman88 9 years, 2 months 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.

Paul Wilson 9 years, 2 months 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 didn't.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

Defense attorney is already laying the ground for it being a fake/toy gun, though I believe just the perceived threat is enough for a conviction of some sort.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 2 months ago

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

VaJay 9 years, 2 months ago

Now how did Dubya finish that sentence?..... "Won't get fooled again!"

gchawk 9 years, 2 months 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?

jay_cheese 9 years, 2 months 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!

Steve Reigle 9 years, 2 months 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.

ku_foaf 9 years, 2 months 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.

Jim Jackson 9 years, 2 months ago

Nice post ATL. I too, have been wondering about the preside details of this entire scenarion, which don't make a whole lot of sense.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

Well said.

I had wondered about Jeremiah. Wasn't he the player that had some serious health issues even before he started school, and never really got going even though he was a top (4KU) recruit?

What about the other Edwards? Any relation? Any record there?

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months 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!!

Bruce Adair 9 years, 2 months 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?

CrystalJones 9 years, 2 months ago

Look, KU isn't the only school that gives "opportunities" to bad seeds. Many, many schools have had the occasional great-talent/lost-soul recruit. It seems to me that most of the time these characters are not redeemed simply by virtue of accepting a D-1 offer. Most of them revert to their old vices and in this guy's case it's repeatedly happened before ever playing a down. Snyder has actually done as good a job as anybody with such reclamation projects, but he's run off those who refuse to toe the line.

Schools takes chances on these guys, most of whom are jucos, and this not an unusual outcome.

betterbelieveit 9 years, 2 months 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.

Terry N Tom Denner 9 years, 2 months 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 !!!

John McCoy 9 years, 2 months 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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