When South Carolina Gamecocks star junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney voluntarily took himself out of the lineup of last Saturday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats, he proved that he is a selfish player who doesn’t have a true love for the game of football.
Not only does it hurt the Gamecocks, but it hurts Clowney’s draft stock, as NFL teams are now sure to question Clowney’s motivation.
According to ESPN, Clowney approached head coach Steve Spurrier and asked to not play because of an injury around his ribs. The doctors had cleared Clowney to play and Spurrier had intended to start him.
“It was just we didn’t know he wasn’t playing until right before the game,” Spurrier said, according to ESPN. “That is always a little frustrating. Usually the trainer or doctor comes and tells you this guy is out, and that did not happen last night. But on the other side, if a player is in pain and can’t play, I don’t want him to play. None of us do.”
Clowney, who is eligible for the NFL draft after this season, clearly has his sights on the NFL and is not focused on his team’s success this season.
That’s unfair not only to Clowney’s coaches and teammates at South Carolina, but to the entire fanbase in Columbia, S.C., that has embraced the defensive end into their community. Clowney clearly has no respect for these people, and Spurrier shouldn’t allow this distraction to go on any further.
There’s no room in football for players that voluntarily refuse to play. And that’s doubly true for Clowney, who’s been disappointing this year after garnering Heisman Trophy buzz this offseason.
To date, Clowney has registered just two sacks on the season and 12 tackles through five games.
Clowney told local media after practice on Oct. 8 that he isn’t done playing college football.
“I haven’t played my last game yet,” Clowney said in the post-practice press conference. “I will be back on the field. I just don’t know how long it will take to get back but I’m going to be back playing. I’m going to keep doing my thing, keep playing football and moving forward.”
That all sounds like public relations garbage coming from a guy trying to salvage his reputation. If he has any respect for his teammates and his community, he will sit out the rest of the season and give way for someone lower on the depth chart who is willing to lay it all out on the field for his team.