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Can “Thug U” resurgence impact top recruits?

Now, it’s more than just football     

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I saw this coming after the 8-0 start and the emergence of the “Turnover Chain”, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this magnified and intense. I wish I was talking about the hype surrounding the highly touted game between the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and # 7 Miami Hurricanes that is slated for prime time this Saturday, but I am not. I am referring to the unwarranted, hateful, disrespectful and appalling racist behavior towards the KIDS of the University of Miami. The use of the new politically correct version of the “N” word, “thug”, has been tossed around at a rampant rate on social media like the rants below.

In addition, the misleading and inaccurate tagline “Catholics vs Convicts” has been plastered everywhere since the end of the Virginia Tech Hokies game when Chris Fowler brought out one of the old copyright infringement t-shirts on national television as a promotion during the post game coverage.

It is no secret that the “State of Miami”, as Coach Howard Schnellenberger called it, is a hotbed for the top football players for teams across the country. When people use this hate speech, they are not only discriminating against Miami Hurricane players who call Miami home, but also many of the players born and bred in Miami on the teams they themselves cheer for. So if you call Miami Hurricane players thugs, how do you feel about the kids that are on your own team from Miami? When you call Miami Hurricane players thugs, you are not just insulting them, but their hometown, their families, peers, and community. For example, Notre Dame’s RB Deon McIntosh’s brother is Miami Hurricane DE RJ McIntosh. Is Deon also a thug because he is from Miami? Or, let me guess, he is not a thug because he plays on your team? This is the same racist excuse used outside of football when people make judgments about others they have zero interactions with. Miami Hurricanes players are being judged by the way they look, where they are from, and by how they express themselves when they are having a great time playing the game they love. Yet, these fans fail to acknowledge or conveniently ignore the true facts about the University of Miami football team. The Miami Hurricanes football team is the recipient of the American Football Coaches Association's Academic Achievement Award, the team volunteers at countless community service events, DE Demetrius Jackson has his own non-profit organization. The Miami Hurricanes have an 88 percent graduation rate, which happens to be the second highest among teams currently in the College Football Playoff Top 10 rankings. Don’t take my word for it though, see what Coach Mark Richt had to say about his team.

Now, this brings me to the question, as a recruit from the “State of Miami,” why would you leave Miami now, when you can show the world you can be successful here at home? In past years, top recruits from the “State of Miami” would leave home to play football for teams that are competing for championships (national and conference), proven in player development, and provide opportunities for success at the next level. But now, Coach Richt and company have the Miami Hurricanes in a position to play in their first ever ACC championship and are in the national conversation for making the CFP in their second season. While many factors go into recruitment and a player’s final decision on a school, demeaning and belittling a players’ home could play a major factor moving forward now that it is about more than just football. As we get closer to the early signing period in December, the Miami Hurricanes currently have the #4 ranked recruiting class and have had a host of top recruits around the program every week.

People fear success that doesn’t look like them.