On August 28th, 2011 Alabama running back Trent Richardson was pulled over for speeding in Chilton County, Alabama. The Crimson Tide star was going 85 in a 70 and the officer noted that he blamed the “large rims” on his vehicle for the speeding violation. What was the vehicle? A 2011 GMC Yukon which retails for in the neighborhood of $40,000 even without the added expense of new rims. Raise your hand if it makes sense that an “unemployed” athlete at Alabama with two children, no job, and a non-wealthy family could afford a brand new SUV. Put your hands down Alabama fans. Trent Richardson could be flying in his own private jet and you’d talk about how it’s perfectly reasonable for him to avoid traffic this way.
For the rest of us Richardson driving a brand new SUV raises an awful lot of questions.
Especially when you consider that most of his money was already going to suit payments.
As a preliminary, I don’t have any issue with Trent Richardson cashing in on his talents. It’s morally indefensible to force any person of talent to work for free. I firmly believe that. That’s why you’ve never heard me jump on the NCAA violation bandwagon from a moral perspective. The most immoral actor of all in college sports is the NCAA. The entire NCAA “amateurism” model is predicated on making as much money as possible off the free labor of others. Then, as if that wasn’t indefensible enough, the entire enforcement procedure is based upon ensuring that those who have nothing at all, continue to have nothing at all.
The fact that college sports fans like you and me allow and support this model’s continued existence is the outrage.
After all, you know what isn’t an improper benefit? Rich parents.
If you’re rich the NCAA has no power over you. If you’re poor? Well, you’re the NCAA’s bitch.
The real immorality here is South Carolina forcing a player like Marcus Lattimore to run the ball 35 times a game, and the NFL not allowing Lattimore to cash in on his talents in the meantime. Put it this way, no matter what you do would you give up your job for a one-year scholarship guarantee? I didn’t think so. What if I make the deal even worse? In addition to receiving no money, on every single play you risk career-ending injury that will render you forever unable to make a living off your talents. (See Prothro, Tyrone). Would anyone be willing to do this?
Of course not.
So I don’t blame athletes for cashing in when the entire world surrounding them is making money off their talents. Hell, I’ll tell you this, if I didn’t have any money you can damn sure bet I would be taking cash payments for playing in college. All of that brings us back to Trent Richardson. Do I blame him for wanting a nice car? No. But do I love when Alabama fans come to his defense no matter what? Of course. Like I said on Twitter yesterday, what would Alabama fans be saying if Cam Newton had gotten a speeding ticket while driving in a brand new SUV with tricked out rims? They’d be outraged, fulminating at the mouth, but Trent Richardson does it? Oh, there are a ton of great, reasonable explanations.
So now, without further ado, here are Alabama fan excuses for why it’s perfectly reasonable for Trent Richardson to be driving a $50,000 brand new SUV. (Note: these are not made up. Every single one of these was Tweeted or emailed to me since last night).
11. He got a loan based on his future earnings potential.
A worthy premise but, sigh, an NCAA violation.
If you get a loan based on your future earnings potential, you are no longer an amateur. Otherwise every college athlete in America could take out a million dollar line of credit and live like a rockstar on campus. (Note: the only exception to this rule is that you can take out an insurance policy to protect yourself in the event of catastrophic injury. But that doesn’t allow you to buy a brand new SUV).
10. He’s buying American, you hate America, Clay. Also, you’re racist.
Yes, I hate America. And I’m racist. Well played and well reasoned. There’s a job waiting for y’all as a Fox News commentator. There’s also an inherent irony in the second most racist state in the union hurling racial accusations at others. So let’s be clear since everyone in Alabama immediately latches on to race, if you’re an unemployed college student with two kids and you’re white, black, brown, green, blue, pink, any color under the rainbow, and you drive a brand new SUV, you’ve got some serious explaining to do.
I do love, however, the delicious irony of Alabama fans turning in to Al Sharpton disciples the moment an Alabama player is questioned.
Even Al Sharpton thinks y’all are pathetic with this line of thinking though.
9. He has enough money to buy a $50k SUV.
No, no he doesn’t.
He has two children. That means he has child support payments of some sort or other. He also has no job. Plus, he has to feed and clothe himself.
The vast majority of employed fathers of two can’t afford a brand new luxury SUV with tricked out rims. There is no way under the sun that Trent Richardson has the money to buy this SUV.
8. It’s his friend’s car.
Isn’t it always convenient how the “friend” never has a worse car in these situations? Like, Trent Richardson wasn’t pulled over for speeding in a 1976 Monte Carlo. It’s amazing how the “friends” are always so much richer.
7. It’s a loaner, his car is in the shop.
The good ole loaner defense. Next thing you know Richardson will be test-driving the car across the country a la Terrelle Pryor.
News flash: You don’t get a valuable car as a loaner unless you also leave behind a valuable car to be repaired.
6. Clay, rims do make it seem like your car is going faster.
The number of people who focused on Trent Richardson’s speeding excuse rather than the expensive SUV is simply amazing.
Proving that if you dangle a bright and shiny object in front of some people, they really will grab the bright and shiny object. Cue Johnnie Cochran.
Prosecution: The odds of O.J. Simpson’s DNA ending up here at the murder scene are 1 billion to one.
Cochran: If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
5. You and Sports By Brooks are gay.
This is my favorite response any time I write anything negative about Alabama. Crimson Tide fans accuse me and Sports By Brooks of being gay. And not just a few. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of Alabama fan responses accuse us of being gay. Usually they write it this way: “Your gay.”
Aside from the second grade nature of the insult and the clear presumption that gay people are always lying, let’s play this defense out to it’s logical extension: aren’t Bama fans really arguing that gay people are obsessed with NCAA violations in college athletics?
So if you walk up to a New York bar, a great opening line for gay men is, “Can you believe the new revisions to NCAA bylaw 16?”
Go to a gay man’s apartment and there’s a 100% chance the NCAA rulebook is open on the coffee table. Don’t believe me? DVR old episodes of “Will and Grace.” See it, there’s the manual!
4. He sold his T-Town Menswear suits and autographs.
At least this excuse was honest.
An NCAA violation, but honest.
3. “HE IS A FAMILY MAN and he spend that much on that car to have a safe ride for his children and family. worthy for the cost.”
This is according to @deeptrunk on Twitter. Yes, tricked out rims are the modern-day Volvos.
2. He has a rich uncle (or aunt).
Yes, of course, the Daddy Warbucks defense.
Where was that rich aunt or uncle for the previous 20 years of Richardson’s life?
1. Yeah, but Cam Newton…
It always comes back to Cam Newton for Alabama fans. No matter what anyone else does, the first response out of most Alabama fans’ mouths is, “Yeah, but Cam Netwon…”
So I’ll finish this sentence for you, “Yeah, but Cam Newton didn’t get pulled over driving a brand new luxury SUV at Auburn.”
Okay, today’s contest in the comments, funniest wins an OKTC prize pack: Come up with the best excuse for how Trent Richardson ended up with this car. Funniest wins.