I, like many, thought USC's decision not to admit football signee Ben Axon was OK and sent a message to all USC athletes. However, after reading Ben's post on Joseph Person's blog, I think we may need to reconsider.
After reading Ben's letter, I reflected on my days at USC and the mistakes I made as a young man.
Ben says he hasn't been in trouble with the law before. Ben also says that the guys he was with the night of his arrest had been his friends since the third grade. Ben also says he lives in a bad area and has tried to avoid trouble by focusing on football as his way out.
If what Ben writes is true, let us think about that for a minute. A person growing up in the environment Ben depicts might need a little more understanding, and further investigation into the circumstances.
It is my understanding that the charges were reduced without interaction from anyone at USC. If that is the case, then we must consider the message Ben's community is sending to us about this young man. In today's society, young men from such an environment don't have charges reduced unless there is good cause or the judge thinks it is deserved.
I understand that Ben should keep better company, but that is a learned behavior that is extremely difficult to practice until one is out of his environment.
We should ask officials in Ben's community about Ben: his pastor, his teachers and, yes, police officers. I am sure we will get a better picture of this young man - better or worse.
What struck me most about Ben's letter was how sincere it sounded. This young man put this letter out to all of us associated with USC and practically begs for another chance. He also promised not to get into any more trouble.
I think we may have lost sight of the fact that this is a young man's life we are talking about. Football is his only way out. Young men make mistakes. The good ones learn; the others don't.
As a successful man who was given a second chance by a kind USC campus police officer 25 years ago, I ask the powers that be to please look into what Ben says in his letter and consider your state of maturity at 18 years old. If what Ben says is true and from his heart, he is the type of fellow who should get a second chance.
He may make us all proud one day.
DAVID ROBINSON | Huntsville, Ala.