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Ian Williams talks Draft, Michael Floyd

Mar 24, 2011, 12:21 PM EST

Getty Images - Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

I’ve mentioned Ian Williams’ draft diary at the South Bend Tribune before, but you really should be checking out his updates as he preps for the upcoming NFL Draft.

This week, Ian checks in as he works on getting his 40-yard dash time down, where I’m guessing he’s trying to find a way to clock in at sub 5.0, no easy feat for a guy that weighs over 300 pounds. (As Ian mentioned, it’s all in your start…)

Between training in Chicago, taking his first business class this spring, and getting prepped for piano class, Williams also had some very level-headed commentary on Michael Floyd, and his future with the Fighting Irish football team.

One of the great things about being back up here is seeing all of my old teammates. I talk to a lot of them, including Michael Floyd.

What happened to him (arrested for drunk driving early Sunday morning and subsequently indefinitely suspended from the team) was a tough incident. I wish that upon nobody.

I actually was in town the night that it happened. I actually called him a couple of hours before everything happened, and I’ve talked to him since.

He says he’s learned his lesson. He’s looking to get back into the spotlight and show people that’s not really him, because that’s not Michael Floyd.

We’re all in college, we all make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. He’s learned his lesson. He’s looking to move forward and get past this moment.

I hope Res Life (Notre Dame’s disciplinary arm) lets him do that. Res Life is tough. I remember when I was getting recruited, people were telling me don’t be scared of the laws. Res Life is what you should be scared of.

I just hope they give him a break. It’s a one-time offense. He’s truly sorry. It’s not like he was doing it on purpose. I don’t know why he was doing it, but I know it wasn’t like, “Oh. I’m Michael Floyd. Nothing will happen to me.” I just hope they give him a second chance.

As an athlete, you know what you’re getting into with the spotlight. And you can take it two ways.

We do what we do, knowing our lives are going to be public, everything we do is going to be public. That’s kind of a side effect of being an athlete, playing basketball or football or whatever.

You can take it and run and do something good with it or you can take it and run and do something bad with it. It comes down to how you perceive it and how you want to take it on.

I just want to let everyone know that Floyd is a great kid. He will get past this and will be great this season. Don’t worry about it.

One of the problems with sports media and the current state of our culture is that we’re forced to make snap judgments. Black or white, right or wrong. There’s no room for gray or degrees of fault. At every level, what Michael did was wrong, and now he’s left it up to the university, and after that, head coach Brian Kelly, to decide what the proper punishment is for one of the team’s best examples and leaders. (That didn’t change after one bad Saturday night.)

As someone that’s watched Michael Floyd play football since he was a ninth grader and as someone who doesn’t even try to hide his prejudicial preference for all things No. 3, it’s hard for me to be someone who argues for anything other than giving Floyd a second chance.

Driving drunk is a terrible mistake and something someone like Floyd, who turned down millions of dollars to return to school, should know better not to do. Yet he’s spent the last four years of his life at Notre Dame, a pro-alcohol school and before that CDH, another place where students seem to only struggle with the alcohol bug. It’s easy to get indignant as a fan that realizes how privileged. Yet there’s no reason not to think that Floyd don’t deserves a second chance, and if he makes it through Res Life, and into the fall semester, he’ll be back on the field.

Until then, we’ll just have to find out…

  1. oldestguard - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Maybe I’m too old to know the jargon…. what exactly is meant by a “pro-alcohol school” ?

    I agree with all your points and I hope Mr Floyd not only succeeds, but can also set an example that reaches back to his High School roots and changes some of that alcohol culture that you referenced.

  2. oldhighs - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    I really like Michael Floyd. I think he can be a great player at not just this level, but the next.

    But I think the best thing for him and for the University is to ensure that he pays the rightful dues for his mistake. If that means sitting the season out, then by all means that’s what needs to happen.

    It’s one thing to be truly sorry, and to realize you made a mistake. At it sounds like that’s the case with Floyd. But it’s another to face the consequences of that mistake like a man. And that’s what needs to happen, for Michael Floyd’s own good.

    Sure he’s young, and kids don’t always get everything right. But if he thinks he’s in the spotlight at Notre Dame, that spotlight is only going to get bigger for him as he moves on in his football career. If he pays his dues now and comes out of it a humbler, more mature person and player, he’ll have learned something very valuable. Letting him come back to the team this season does nothing in the way of teaching him any kind of accountability.

    • oldhighs - Mar 24, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Figured there’d be a few “thumbs down” votes, but I’m honestly curious as to why.

      Unless there’s no real reasoning, and it’s just some Notre Dame homers who care more about their team winning than they care about a kid learning about having responsibility for his actions.

      Unlike Keith, I don’t think there is a gray area here. He drove drunk. It’s something all of us should know not to do. Doesn’t make him a bad person, but just because he has all the athletic talent in the world and is viewed as a leader in the Notre Dame locker room doesn’t excuse him from the consequences. In fact, I would argue that it makes it all the more important for him to accept the consequences like a man.

      Notre Dame is supposed to be a university that cares not only about the talent of its athletes, but their character as well. It’s what separates Notre Dame from schools like USC or Miami. It would be a shame to see Notre Dame betray that legacy, even if it is “just this one time, but only because Michael Floyd is so darn good at football!”.

      Rules are rules. Actions have consequences – or more accurately, getting caught has consequences. Should he be allowed the opportunity to get back on the field? Absolutely. Should he be allowed to see the field this season? I don’t know. But I’m not going to hope he “makes it through Res Life”. I’m hoping Res Life finds a fair punishment for his actions, and that Michael Floyd learns from his mistakes and comes back to the football field a better person and a better teammate. He seems like a good kid, so I don’t for a minute doubt his ability to take something positive from this. But he needs to be held as accountable as the next kid would be.

      • whisk3yjack - Mar 24, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        He’s been suspended indefinitely, stripped of his captaincy, and will certainly miss all of spring ball. He’s also virtually guaranteed to miss *at least* a few games this season.

        Floyd will face the legal consequences of his DUI regardless of ResLife.

        What I don’t understand is the insistence by some that Floyd needs to get expelled or suspended for the entire season lest ND be tarnished like all the football factories that put winning before integrity.

        I personally hope that he gets out in front of this early and of his own accord; confront his problems with alcohol publicly, so that others can benefit from his mistake.

        So assuming he misses spring ball, loses his captaincy, admits to and publicly addresses his alcohol problems, performs a ton of community service, and sits out a few games this fall, how is ND tarnished by his coming back and playing? Why does ResLife need to crucify Floyd beyond what I’ve just described?

        Floyd made a significant sacrifice by choosing to come back for his senior year. That decision cast the University in a very favorable light and provided a sterling example for other talented athletes. I think ND owes it to Floyd to let him see the field again if he jumps through the right hoops.

      • 1notredamefan - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        21? What age must you reach in order to be considered an adult? He made an adult mistake and should be givin what every other adult gets for 1st time DUI: weekend in jail or probation, fine, and a firm knowledge of doing it twice is NO joke!!

      • 1notredamefan - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        *loss of license for a year also

  3. ndreece - Mar 24, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Notre Dame is a “pro-alcohol” school. That’s a bit of a misnomer, isn’t it? Sure, students are allowed to drink in dorms once they are of legal drinking age. The only thing that makes this unique is the fact that students live in dorms all four years, unlike at other schools. It’s been a while, but don’t they also have restrictions on what type of alcohol you can drink and the containers that you can drink out of? If anything, the administration is more restrictive than other schools. I have been to my fair share of campuses and the party atmosphere is severely muted at ND when compared to other schools.

    Also, you say the same thing about CDH. I went to a school in another state that was likely similar to CDH in many regards. There was plenty of drinking and drugs at my school as well. But to say that the public schools in the same city didn’t have the same problems is a bit myopic. If anything things were worse at other schools.

  4. oldhighs - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    @whisk3yjack

    “So assuming he misses spring ball, loses his captaincy, admits to and publicly addresses his alcohol problems, performs a ton of community service, and sits out a few games this fall, how is ND tarnished by his coming back and playing? Why does ResLife need to crucify Floyd beyond what I’ve just described?”

    Thing is, none of those things have come to pass yet. And still, Ian Williams and Keith Arnold want ResLife to “give him a break”.

    I don’t recall anyone saying Floyd should be expelled. What Michael has to do to get back on the field should be no different than what any other student athlete at Notre Dame would have to go through. Whether that means a four-game suspension or a full season out of football, so be it.

    Personally I think you need a little perspective if you think a suspension from football = crucifixion. The kid is very, very fortunate to be in the position he’s in, and I’m sure even he realizes that.

    If Floyd doesn’t like it, he can always enter the NFL Supplemental Draft in July. But if he wants to continue to be a leader on this team (and I have no reason to believe he doesn’t), then he’ll accept the consequences of his actions – no “breaks” – and I’m sure he’ll come out of it a better person, player, and leader.

    • whisk3yjack - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:42 PM

      When Ian Williams, Keith Arnold, and others say they want ResLife to “give him a break,” I understand those comments with reference to ResLife’s history of busting kids out of school for offenses like this. No one is suggesting that this should be swept under the rug, but ResLife does not have a good track record of fairly dispensing discipline. In that context, “give him a break” is reasonable in the sense of “give him a chance to redeem himself instead of immediately expelling him.”

      Lots of people are calling for Floyd to be expelled or suspended for the whole season (which basically amounts to the same thing.) They’re desperate to avoid the appearance that ND has the same lack of integrity as most of the football factories. Giving Floyd a chance to redeem himself would in no way tarnish ND’s image; in fact, I’d be more embarrassed if they expelled him outright.

      Outright expulsion would be crucifixion in the sense that it’s the most severe punishment on the table, and one which many people feel isn’t justified right now. And to the extent that some are calling for Floyd to be preemptively sacrificed on ResLife’s altar, crucifixion is doubly appropriate as a term.

      Floyd himself has asked for no breaks, and his public statement was a good first step toward accepting responsibility like a man.

  5. Keith Arnold - Mar 25, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    I would agree that “pro-alcohol” isn’t the right wording. But as someone that went to both schools — ND and CDH — I feel like I’ve got a little bit of an insight into this situation that others might not have. Regardless of the social norms at either school, driving drunk doesn’t fit into the acceptable behavior.

    That said, I agree with whisky that if ND does let him play games next season — that’s not another sign of the apocalypse. It’s a school dealing with a situation, having a player serve his punishment, and if he’s learned from it, they all move on.

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