Kenny Britt is no black eye for Rutgers

Some may see Tennessee Titans receiver Kenny Britt's repeated examples of questionable judgment to be a mark against Rutgers, his college home for three seasons. That is pure hogwash, as nothing could be further from the truth. Over twenty Scarlet Knight alumni are listed as being on active NFL rosters according to ScarletKnights.com, with every other player's off the field record ranging from nondescript to downright exemplary. Even Britt, who seemingly cannot buy any good publicity as of late, is at most guilty of acting like a twenty two year old. That does not mean he should not be held accountable for his actions, or that serious consequences are not likely to result in some form if he does not shape up, but intent matters. Rutgers has not exactly released Norman Bates on the world, or even Terrell Owens.

Indeed, the very fact that Kenny Britt was able to escape a troubled reputation at Bayonne to stay mainly on the straight and narrow in Piscataway is a strong testament to the methods of one Greg Schiano's particular brand of team discipline. The only problem vis-a-vis Kenny and Rutgers is that he should be acting more like he did at Rutgers. That does not mean that everything was champagne and lollipops 24/7, but the football program provided him the structure and foundation to succeed, and that is exactly what he proceeded to do. It is no coincidence that Britt's problems have tended to keep popping up during the offseason, when Tennessee cannot exactly keep a watchful eye on him spending time back home in New Jersey.

As far as Rutgers goes, Greg Schiano's stellar track record speaks for itself. Players attend class and stay out of trouble for the most part. Three Scarlet Knights have been arrested over the past eight seasons (Justin Francis for an airsoft gun prank, Davon Clark for joining a gang after he was kicked off the team, and Alfred Peterson for groping a woman at a party), with seven total over his entire decade-long tenure (the other four coming from a single 2002 crowd incident involving Tres Moses, Eddie Grimes, Marcus Jones, and Chris Baker - corrections are welcome here, but there have been so few incidents that it is difficult to recall any other.) Here is a question for recent alumni: can you account a negative interaction with a football player? Those certainly will occur here or there, but you will not find many alumni with major gripes.

Things have gotten to the point where fans are entirely comfortable with the program's self-policing, as they have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to exercise the utmost level of judgment and discretion. If a student athlete has a rocky past, but is fundamentally a good kid, Rutgers football and Schiano think they can mold that person for the better. If they are a malcontent, then they do not have a place in Piscataway. Think about it like this: if a young man is about to enter a critical crossroads in their life, isn't it a good thing to have that person mentored for several years by Coach Schiano?

People general tend to overreact to small sample sizes, and are blind to nuances, and the subset of those who pay attention to college football are no exception. That should be readily apparent to anyone reading preseason predictions, or paying attention to video game ratings (not that EA Sports ever does all that much research on that front.) Think of all the ridiculous talk about Rutgers supposedly backsliding, when the program's futility under Terry Shea was actually a historical aberration. Men are not angels though (certainly not logical automatons), and unfortunately one dumb screw up can damage an entire group's reputation; which is precisely what Schiano has tried to avoid in counseling his wards to keep their heads down over the past decade.

If you follow the Rutgers football program, then you do not need to be convinced on this point. Even Vince Lombardi would be second-guessed for his coaching decisions, but good luck finding anyone who does not have the utmost confidence in Greg Schiano off the field. That is precisely why Kenny should still have all of our support, in spite of all of his mistakes. We saw for three years that he is no bad apple. Schiano trusted him not to sully the program's reputation, and there is no firmer endorsement out there. The coach says Rutgers football is a family, and families forgive, while at the same time trying to provide guidance so that any problems can be corrected. That process got us this far, so anyone doubting one of our loyal sons at the moment might want to reconsider whether they are overreacting to some extent.

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