Deshaun Watson made news this past weekend for walking out of a bar. Aside from being the antithesis of a classic stock joke, it was noteworthy enough that the entire nation felt the need to comment on it.
The Clemson Insider even spoke with a couple of his former teammates about the situation. If you missed their comments, you can see what Ben Boulware and Jordan Leggett had to say about Watson getting removed from a Tuscaloosa establishment last week.
The story is equal parts sad, funny, and typical. It’s sad because Watson is so good at football that he’s not welcome at restaurants located near schools he defeated. (Or those frequented by former Bama players who used to date his girl. Allegedly. Either way, they’re salty.)
It’s funny because…really? You can’t eat a meal next to a guy who owns you in football? He can’t eat in your vicinity because you couldn’t stop him? LOL at that, Alabama.
And it’s typical because if there were a fan base/alumni base/player base that would overreact like this, it would be Alabama. Much like the story about Kentucky basketball fans trying to ruin the life and business of an official who supposedly wronged their team in the NCAA Tournament (seriously, look it up, this happened), only Bama would actually do this.
Can you think of another football fan base that would run an opposing player off just for being at the wrong bar? I’m sure I could if I tried, but the obvious first choice is Alabama. One of their fans poisoned a tree. That’s way more insane than this, and yet, the collective response from the rest of us is something along the lines of “that kinda makes sense.”
One of the fun things about what happened this weekend is that, once again, Clemson had a perfect chance to contrast its fan and alumni base with another school’s inferior version. As a member of that group, it gives me great pride to know that there is absolutely no chance something like that would ever happen at Clemson.
As many former players from opposition schools as downtown Clemson has hosted on weekends, we would’ve seen it already.
Some from other schools—not even Alabama, where the good ones just roll their eyes because they know what’s up, but really just from the school in Columbia—love to shrug off these embarrassing displays of low-class behavior by saying “there are crazies at every school” or some similar cliché. That may be true, and I don’t doubt that it is at Clemson. I went to college with some dumb people. I know they exist.
But if “they” exist “everywhere” in America, then why have we never seen the ones from Clemson? Smart phones are everywhere. The internet is at the palm of our hands. We can’t hide these moments anymore.
The fact is that they don’t exist. Clemson is a place where decency reigns supreme, where tolerance is in the DNA, where friends and foes treat each other well just because it’s right. Ask most opposing fan bases, the ones that aren’t blatantly envious of the atmosphere at Clemson. Those testimonials, chronicled over years and years, say it all.
There is a distinct difference between yelling at players or making fun of coaches and refusing to give an alum the common courtesy to simply enjoy a meal in peace. It really doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter what preceded it, unless Watson was egging those players on, and it doesn’t appear that was the case.
So congratulations, Clemson fans. Give yourselves a pat on the back once again. Not only do you have perhaps the best reputation of any serious athletic school in the country, you also let opposing players get a bite to eat and something to drink in your town sometimes.
Apparently that’s the new standard these days.
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