OSU Basketball: The saddest part of the Darrell Williams saga
Anthony Slater – email@example.com
I’m not here to convince you that Darrell Williams did or didn’t do the crimes he was found guilty of late Monday night. To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I was in that courtroom for six out of the nine days, saw a good portion of the testimony but not all of it, and was left just as confused about the facts of the case after the trial as I was before. I wasn’t there on the night in question and I’ll never know what really happened. Good lawyers tend to do that to you.
But regardless of the facts of this case or the night in question, there’s the relatively untold and unquestionably saddest part of this entire saga —> It’s about where Darrell came from, how far he has made it and who his success means the most to. And how quickly it was taken away from them.
Darrell’s mother Alice took the stand late in the trial and spoke of his upbringing. Alice was a single mother, with a low-income job, attempting to raise five children in the harsh streets of Chicago. Darrell was the oldest of the boys, never knowing his father and experiencing the death of one of his siblings.
Throughout life, Darrell was faced with the constant allures of Chicago’s streets, starring as an athlete while trying to help raise his family, remaining popular while trying to keep his nose out of trouble.
And despite the odds stacked against him, Darrell made it out of Illinois with a clean criminal record. He made it to Chipola Junior College in Florida and later Midland Junior College in Texas. Excelling at basketball in both places, Darrell was able to keep his grades high enough to get offers from Division I schools.
In Alice’s eyes, Darrell had overcome great odds and made it, getting a free education at the type of university that most kids from his troubled neighborhood won’t even dream about.
And once he got there, Darrell excelled, showing enough promise to be inserted into the starting lineup right away. In what turned out to be his final two college games (before the charges were filed) Williams had 15 and 13 in a win over Missouri and 18 and 12 in a win over Oklahoma. He was a rising star. Many of his teammates swear he would have been the best player on the team last season and a future NBA career (and payday for him and his family) wasn’t out of the question.
Better yet, he continued to perform in the classroom. Last year, he had upwards of a 3.0 GPA and made the All-Big 12 Academic team. He was on pace to graduate within the next calendar year. To Alice, he was her underdog that had overcome it all and kept his nose clean the entire way.
And during all of this, Darrell had a baby daughter back in Chicago who is now more than a year old. According to all accounts, it is the one thing he talks about most, sending home whatever money he can and visiting when possible.
But then comes Dec. 12, 2010. I’m not going to pretend to know exactly what happened that night. All of the accounts are muddled and conflicting. Maybe he committed a crime and maybe he didn’t. A jury found him guilty of three of the five charges.
But all I want to talk about is the immediate collateral damage. The resonating verdict that had Alice Williams and Darrell’s sister uncontrollably hysterical late Monday night, their son/brother going to prison in a city they thought was going to be his safe haven. Darrell inconsolable in his sorrow, confident his once-promising basketball career was going to start back up right before the reading of count two told him that it was likely over.
It was a sad, sad moment. And now, right or wrong, one questionable day, in the 8,347 days Darrell has been on this planet, will define him and the future of his family. Life can change in an instant and on Monday night, it did.
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