Bomani Jones: Will Lyles Is “Characterized As A Street Agent…Because [He’s] Black”
Will Lyles isn't an angel. At best, the trainer-turned-aspiring-scout made enough errors in the way he dealt with top prospects - sometimes aiding them in attending schools with which he had business relationships - that he felt the need to say this to Yahoo!:
“The service I provided went beyond what a scouting service should…I made a mistake and I’m big enough of a man to admit I was wrong.”
But as we well know, Lyles is far from the only non-angel in the college football (and college football recruiting) world. Radio host Bomani Jones talked with Lyles earlier today, and following that conversation, had some strong words about how Lyles has been characterized:
We'll give Jones this: we haven't, to our recollection, heard the term "street agent" applied to any white people, and we'd guess the word "street" being a part of the phrase has more than a bit to do with it. Additionally, there's little doubt that Terrelle Pryor's "mentor," Ted Sarniak, had Ted Sarniak's interests very much in mind with whatever mentorship took place between himself and the former Ohio State quarterback.
But we'll also say this: the most-scrutinized person in the Pryor saga was also white: Jim Tressel. He was hounded mercilessly (with reason, we might add). He was ousted from one of the best jobs in the country - a job that, at least in the "on-field duties" part of the equation, he performed masterfully.
And the very much white Oregon coach Chip Kelly isn't getting off easy in all this Lyles business: in fact, many think he won't have his job for much longer, either. We'd still say he's been too successful in his two years running the Ducks for Oregon to let go of him this easily...but hey, Tressel had an even greater track record of success. (The anti-Tressel evidence just kept pouring in and pouring in, though, so we'd expect there will need to be more Kelly-related smoke before he's out of a job.)
Back to the Lyles situation, though. Here's a clip of him denying a recruiting quid pro quo in his relationship with Oregon:
We don't doubt that Oregon never explicitly told Lyles that they expected him to deliver any recruits. We don't doubt they told him it was for a scouting service. We could even buy that Lyles legitimately thought that's why he was being paid.
But there is 100 percent ironclad proof that Oregon was very much interested in, and appreciative of, the recruiting help Lyles provided. He had, it seems, no reservations about providing it...which he now fully admits was a mistake (even if he did so with other interests in mind). We can take a cue from Jones and leave the racially-coded stuff out of descriptions of Lyles...but saying the guy acted shadily is very much fair game.
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