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Berry Tramel: Justin Chaisson a big gamble for Sooners

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 12, 2009 at 10:00 am •  Published: May 12, 2009
”There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” — Father Edward Flanagan

There’s a little Father Flanagan in every coach.

The belief that with the right direction, the most misguided of boys can be straightened out. The belief that sometimes a shaky environment is to blame for youthful transgressions, like drugs or guns.

Justin Chaisson could challenge the Boys Town theory.

Chaisson is the OU football recruit from Las Vegas who ran afoul of the law, charged with kidnapping and placing a screwdriver to the neck of an ex-girlfriend.

Chaisson eventually pled guilty to four gross misdemeanors, including two counts of false imprisonment.

So for the second straight summer, Bob Stoops has a tough choice to make involving a hotshot recruit. Bring the guy to Norman and know your heart will pound every time the phone rings, or cut him loose now and hope you never have to play against him.

In 2008, Stoops gave the go-ahead on a scholarship for Josh Jarboe, who had been charged with carrying a gun onto school grounds and eventually pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor.

In July, Stoops rescinded the offer after Jarboe made a video in which he rapped about killing people.

But Jarboe was less a risk than is Chaisson, because of the Boys Town mantra.

There are many reasons to give a scholarship to a ballplayer with a shaky past.

Foremost is victory; never forget that Stoops’ prime directive is autumn glory. Beat Texas, beat OSU, win the Big 12 and start winning bowl games.

For the humanitarian in most of us, redemption is no small part of the process. We’ve all needed a second chance from time to time; I wouldn’t want to live in a world without second chances.

But don’t write off the Boys Town factor.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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