Terrelle Pryor Might Have Started the Apocalypse


So amid all the clamor and mayhem that was this glorious, magnificent Saturday, Ohio State managed to not screw up beat Navy by the skin of their teeth (by skin of their teeth I mean Pick Two).  Amidst all the post-game business has emerged a new, fun story that is sure to cheer everyone up and offend none.  That story has nothing to do with sportsmanship weekend and everything to do with Terrelle Pryor’s eye black.

We’ve discussed this all a bit in today’s WWW but given the comments I thought I’d write up my thoughts on the whole situation (note: these are my thoughts, not anybody else involved with the site so leave the wrath/praise for me).  Brief recap: In Saturday’s game against Navy, Terrelle Pryor put the word “Vick” on his eye black (“Mika” is his sister’s nickname).  As far as I know, he still had it on in the second half.  He had a very questionable quote after the game, saying “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world.  I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.  I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.”

So it’s pretty clear that a few things happened.  1) LiC decided to show support for one of his childhood heroes, Vick.  2) He didn’t prepare himself as well as he should have for the postage interviews – it had to be obvious that SOMEBODY would ask him about the eye black.  3) When asked about it, he flummoxed a bit and didn’t quite make the exact quote that he should have.

After the fact, there was one comment left in our OSU/Navy open thread taking offense to this show of support by Pryor, and declaring an abstention from the Buckeyes for the rest of the season.  To this, I say: What –

Pryor made a somewhat controversial statement in supporting Vick, to be sure.  And honestly, it wasn’t smart.  But he’s an adult and can do as he wishes.  While many folks will deride this and scream bloody murder (which is what happened to Vick’s dogs, I very much realize), he’s allowed to say what he wants (see: Amendment, First).  I’m sure there are clauses in his scholarship agreement that bar being extremely controversial, but he hasn’t even started to go there.  It’s not like he went all Clinton Portis on us.

As a side note: yes, I realize that Vick did deplorable things.  He’s also been tried by a jury, sentenced, and has done his time.  He’s gone bankrupt based on his court sentencing.  He has earned his way back on to an NFL roster, and has seemingly reformed.  While it may not seem fair that he’s back to earning a multi-million dollar paycheck, we hear all the time that our country is a land of second chances – so let’s let the man have his.

Another issue that people may have is the following: Pryor is the starting quarterback at the largest public state university in Ohio, and thus is a public figure who is out to represent the University and the State of Ohio.  As such, it can be said he ought not to do anything to draw ire towards the places that he represents.  So I assume the argument here would be the following – he is the face of a large entity that is state-funded, therefore he should not be using his status as the quarterback to push any sort of personal platform that can be seen as controversial.

If this is the issue, then we ought to look at writing messages on eye black in general.  Mainly, the placement of scripture passages on eye black.  If athletes aren’t to make controversial statements, why should they be allowed to place scripture on themselves –  If they’re at a state-funded university, they should have to respect separation of church and state.  If this argument does not hold in the case of bible passages, then surely Pryor should be allowed to freely write the word “Vick” on his eye black.

Many will argue that scripture passages are benign and should be allowed – but there are plenty of people in this country who do not have Christian religious beliefs and that would take offense at a player using his “podium” as a collegiate athlete to push their beliefs on others.  Look, I realize that the difference between the two scenarios that I just wrote is sizable – and I’m not sure how much I believe it myself.  I realize that it probably sounds absurd to say that scripture should be banned if we call to ban “controversial” messages.  But the hypersensitivity and hypocrisy involved in getting all offended by Pryor’s support of a childhood hero but not other eye black messages is glaring.  Paramount to the whole argument is this fact: we have a right to free speech in this country, granted by the First Amendment of the Constitution – the very same Amendment that calls for separation of church and state.

So if you’re going to boycott the Buckeyes because of one player on the roster of 100, I expect you to follow through with your line of thinking across the board.  I expect you to go and find every single athlete that has voiced support for Vick in the past three years and boycott their team as well.  I expect you to get offended by scripture being used on the faces on athletes at public institutions, and boycott them as well.  At the very least, I expect to see you at 15th and High in Columbus with the rest of the nutjobs protesting this horrible, horrible travesty of a situation.

Edit 9/8/09 1:45 PM

Per a number of Twitter reports from Tressel’s Tuesday Presser – Tressel does not condemn Pryor’s wearing “Vick” on eyeblack patch, nor does he plan to limit players expression in the future …Tressel says Pryor never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings with Vick eyeblack

Two consolidated tweets from: Twitter.com/marcushartman

I’m interested in having discussion about this with everybody, but let’s remember our commenting policy and keep it civil.

(Photo Credit: Sports By Brooks)

  • dweb

    denny, the first amendment of the US Constit does NOT call for separation of church and state. in fact, it states that the government should not make any law respecting the establishment of a religion. a subtle but powerful difference that does not bar individuals like Tim Tebow from wearing scripture verse on his eyeblack or even congressmen from using religiously inspired prose while speaking in congress.

    as for the issue of pryor wearing the word “Vick” on his eyeblack, I do not personally mind Pryor’s show of support for Vick at all. I do mind it, however, if the governing body of football recommends that student athletes refrain from writing messages on their eyeblack. until that happens, go ahead and write on young pryor!

  • Omar13Vizquel

    I want to hear Rome’s take on this.

  • jackscrow

    What worries me it the “not smart” aspect of this.

    Can a person who makes this eyeblack decision really make good decisions elsewhere, football or otherwise?

    Is the person who is not capable of making the correct decision on something SO simple actually handle the 2nd check-down or the right audible at the right time?

    How much learning ability does this kid have?

    Given the fact that physical abilities can take you only so far, is he going to get to the point where he can be a good, semi-intelligent Q-back, let alone a decent and reasonably good citizen?

  • MrCleaveland

    Well, I wouldn’t boycott anything over this, but it looks like it might be crossroads time for TP. Will he straighten up, or will he turn into a head case?

    Pryor is going to get punished enough by the media. He will take a lot of heat on the radio talk shows and maybe some of the TV sports anchors. I imagine Jim Rome will hammer him on this pretty good. How he reacts to the criticism will tell us a lot.

    Tressell needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with him and tell him about another young star who got too full of himself and started saying stupid things: Maurice Clarrett.

  • john gianopolos

    Pryor and Tress should be severely reprimanded or tossed out of the program. As an OSU alumni member I have already left a voicemail at Gordon Gee’s voicemail (614.292.2424) expressing my disgust at this situation.

  • mikey

    if we beat usc and start winning big games his eye blacks can say whatever they want.

  • Tsunami

    I don’t quite understand the part about banning messages in eye black when all these athletes have messages controversial or not in their tattoos. I’m not sure how scripture references could be considered controversial in any light. Interesting read.

    Anyway, maybe the kid should look up to a QB that has won something.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    Tressel and Pryor should be thrown out of the program? Because Pryor wrote someones name on his eye black? Seriously? That anyone has a problem with this just shows that our society is WAY too concerned with the actions of others. Nobody has to support Vick as he tries to rebuild himself and his career, but to criticize someone for exercising their right to support their heroes is just asinine to me.

  • steve

    people need to grow up.

    this is not a big issue.

  • Greg

    I think it’s great that Pryor wants to use his podium to support others. If it were me, I think I could find someone more sympathetic than Mike Vick, but to each his own. The real problem is that his explanation was ridiculous, and that reflects poorly on the university’s ability to teach.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ 1 – thanks for the clarification. I’m no lawyer, for sure. Even if that aspect of the argument doesn’t work, the fact that some MIGHT be offended by scripture still has weight. If we’re going to pander to every person who ever gets offended, it’ll still hold true.

    @ #3 and #10 – absolutely. Granted, he’s 19 and hasn’t been coached up as much as the senior leaders, but he ought to be able to explain himself better.

    @ #5 – I think I’m going to call and leave a message supporting Tress and TP. Let the kids have a say.

    @ #4 and #7 – I think this is a case where someone needs to sit TP down and say “look, you’ve got two great examples to learn from. You can learn from #13, who walked to the beat of his own drum and alienated himself from the university, or you can learn form # 10 who moves past his mistakes and became legend.”

  • Ike

    I’m with Steve, I just don’t think this is a big deal at all.

  • MrCleaveland

    Denny wrote, “You can learn from #13, who walked to the beat of his own drum and alienated himself from the university, or you can learn form # 10 who moves past his mistakes and became legend.”

    Bro, that is PROFOUND! Good job.

  • JJ in DC

    So according to Pryor, “everyone” steals, murders, etc., hence his reason for supporting Vick.

    While I admit I’m far from perfect, I can at least say I’ve never killed anyone. Why do I feel like Pandora’s Box has just been opened???

  • dr. cleveland

    First let me say that I have no problem with the eye black issue… But if I was in the guy’s inner circle I’d def be worried about his public speaking abilities. That quotation is classic. And after all, didn’t he announce that he would be attending The University of Ohio State? I guess if he keeps winning and none of this matters. Let’s just hope he doesn’t next announce that his major is communications.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ JJ – to me it’s pretty clear he meant to have the word “not” in there – i.e. “Not everyone steals, murders, etc..” but screwed it up – and didn’t make sure to rephrase. That could be problematic.

    @ dr. cleveland – the way I’ve always seen that incident is that I think he was trying to be as much of an attention whore as possible, leaving UM dangling until the last possible second.

    and MrCleaveland, I can say things of worth sometimes, it’s just more fun not to.

  • jackscrow

    Let’s just hope nobody looks real close at how much “study” help he’s getting.

    And Mikey is right: most fans wouldn’t give a flying buckeye leaf if his eyeblack had swastikas — IF he beats USC.

  • Jaxson

    While I don’t think it’s a big deal all together, I do agree with dr. cleveland. Get TP into a media training class this fall. Shoulda found one over the summer, but he needs to be “Tresselized”. I know what he was trying to say, but he completely failed at expressing it to the media.

  • matt

    to who said “Pryor and Tress should be severely reprimanded or tossed out of the program. ”

    thanks for the laugh…im actually looking forward to all the feigned outrage over this

    what vick did was terrible, but he payed his dues (as mentioned in the post, jail and loss of a lot of cash) The real outrage should be directed at our legal system that has 1 guy do 2 years and lose everything for interstate gambling (and dog fighting) and another gets 20days and house arrest for driving high/drunk then killing someone

  • Hoy

    thoughts for next week’s eye black against USC

    “eat” “baby”

    “kiss” “m’ass”

    “vick” “4prez”

    “space” “4sale”

    let the kid write what he wants, he’ll quit tripping over his words when hes a little more used to the post game stuff, but this quote will be blown out of proportion until thursday when next week’s games start because there won’t be much else to talk about.

  • Big Show

    I can’t believe this is even much of a story, but at least it is covered objectively on here. Yes, some places will jump all over it, but so is the life of being an OSU fan. The only ones who have it as hard or harder are ND fans in my opinion.

    My view…

    1. TP can put whatever he want’s on there as long as it is not curse words or something of that sort.

    2. Media should have never even made it a story, but that is what they do.

    3. Agree with everyone else on here, the only issue I see is he needs some more “coaching” for interviews.

    Great article as always Denny. Those wanting him tossed, get a grip. Kid idled Vick for the way he plays I am sure; and not as an aspiring dog trainer.

  • Lars

    I’d prefer it say “Fire Bollman” or “Please Block”

  • Jigga

    @Lars – Brilliant.

    @Those of you who can’t see why scripture references might seem controversial – Please step outside of your tiny little world for just a moment. There are probably more atheists in this country than animal rights activists.

    That said, there’s no reason athletes shouldn’t be allowed to write whatever they like on their eye black, provided they’re prepared to deal with whatever their “message” might make people think about them.

  • S-Dub

    This won’t be as big of a story outside of our circles and Ohio because it hasn’t really been plastered all over ESPN. He made a pretty stupid statement after the game. BUT, to say that Tress is somehow responsible for this is crazy, to make this a huge deal is crazy, he didn’t say he likes dog fighting or does it or would kill dogs. He said (my viewpoint of what he said) he looked up to Vick as a Black QB and admirers him for keeping his head up through his punishment and has come back to make an NFL roster.

  • Maybe Pryor didn’t get the memo either

    Michael Vick personally killed dogs with his bare hands, pulled all the teeth out of bait dogs, went to church and college and somehow he missed the memo, he didn’t realize what he was doing was wrong…..he knew it was illegal cause he knew he had to hide it but he just didn’t know it was wrong to sadistically kill countless dogs for the fun of it.. I hope while he was in prison they made him watch Dogtown over and over and over and over and over. He can rot in hell and the eagles too for hiring him. Big deal, he can still throw a football and Tony Dungy and Jesus are vouching for him to live a nice cushy life, too bad his animals have to relive their torture at his hands and the scum that helped him every night in their dreams

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ # 25 – Michael Vick also went to jail, served a two year federal sentence, went bankrupt, is likely on lifetime parole, and has come back to the NFL. He has a great mentor in Dungy.

    We all are well aware of all the facts that you bring up – so what’s the point? There’s no real relevance to them. My article was a response to pure emotional nonsense like this. Vick has paid the debt to society that’s been determined by the US Federal Court system. Last I checked, that’s the highest court in our country – not any court in your personal moral high ground. You talk about the show Dogtown – how about the Dog Whisperer, who says that dogs don’t live in the past, but live in the present? If that’s the case, the dogs have already moved on.

    Like I’ve said before – I love my dogs and I hope nothing terrible ever happens to them. But – just because I own dogs and am emotionally attached to them doesn’t mean I can’t recognize the fact that a guy has done everything required by a court of law in order to live up to what he did.

    Either way, what’s done is done. But saying Vick can rot in hell has no relevance to the Pryor situation in the least. Are you saying that Pryor should rot in hell too? I don’t get it.

  • http://brian23.com Brian

    I wish he used real eye black instead of those stickers.

  • Jay

    I’ll readily admit that I was the first one on board to ban Vick from ever playing football in the USA again. After reading ALOT of articles, both on this site and others media outlets, I will also readily admit that I was WRONG. As been said many times over, he’s been tried, convicted, sentenced, and served his time. I hope, God forbid, if I ever find myself in trouble, I’ll get a second chance too. Having said that, I feel the only mistake Pryor made was his post-game interview. I see nothing wrong with “Mika Vick” on your eye black and feel it’s just as OK as “John 3:16”. In my humble opinion, I think you can accept the man for who he once was, and who he is now, without having to agree with actions the man has made in his past.

  • ben

    I have a ton of feelings on this, but basically they boil down to “who really cares?” If a kid wants to support someone getting a second chance and trying to put his life back together, then what’s so wrong w/ that?

    Is it wrong to try to support the rehabilitation efforts of anyone who has done something wrong?

    Don’t get me wrong. What Vick did was terrible. But at some point everyone needs to move forward, including him.

    Moreover, what T.P. did was probably stupid (b/c frankly, I don’t think he’s very intelligent). But how would we react if someone well-spoken and deified, like Tebow, put some uber contraversial anti-abortion message on his eyeblack? Is it all of the sudden better?

    According to #5, yeah, it probably is better.

  • Painesville


  • Omega King

    Shawne Merriman choked a woman out at his house, and this is a story? What is going on in the world??

  • Glorious Basterd

    @ 1… Keep on keeping on.

    @ 3… The eye black isn’t as much as an issue with me as the “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.” quote… Every word in that is false and completely inappropriate. I for one am not a huge college football fan and that makes me not a huge OSU fan. But, if I were faithful to Buck-Nation I would not want a guy with this mentality and lack of critical thinking being the star of my team.

    In general, Vick has earned a second chance. I’m glad he’s getting it. I wish he was being coached by a guy who could help him get his life on track and not Andy Reid who has enough issues with his own kids. Enter Tony Dungy. I wish Vick all the luck on and off the field. I hope he has gotten rid of his posse.

  • zach

    he is a whole 19 years old. he will learn, he is allowed to make mistakes.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ # 32 – If you listen to the entire conversation that’s linked in the SbB article, that’s not what he was going for at all. He screwed up trying to get out what he meant to say. I’m pretty sure if you went and asked him if he thinks that everyone murders, etc he’d tell you of course not.

    He’s young and isn’t used to having the cameras in front of him. He might not be all that bright. With time, he’ll become much more well-spoken.

    It troubles me that the University (and athletic department) hasn’t been able to instill better critical thinking, but I never took a public speech class at OSU. I never had a class that taught me how to make clear statements, so who knows if he’s taken one.

    But I’m sure he’s not a pro-murder, gun-totin’ criminal. If he was, we would have seen him in last night’s game featuring Da UUUUUUU.

  • kreep

    ha. you guys are funny. what if he was the starting qb at michigan? what then? pryor is certainly not the sharpest tool in the box, obviously, and should be sat down by his coach. his comment was priceless… ‘i mean, everyone kills people.’

    a talent, yes. a dumb fool, h$ll yes. but hey, i wouldn’t expect nothing less from the football factory that is tOSU.

  • someguy

    Here’s how the conversation should have gone:

    Reporter: what’s with ‘Vick’ on the eye black?
    Pryor: I watched him play when I was young, he was [WFNY Edit: rather] awesome.
    Reporter: what do you think about him breaking the law?
    Pryor: I’m not thinking about it. I’m thinking about USC. Next question.

  • Cjz

    As an atheist, do I care for Tebow’s bible thumping in public? No
    As a volunteer for a dog rescue, do I care for Vick’s past transgressions? No
    As a reasonable, logical person am I offended that Pryor wants to support someone he grew up idolizing for trying to get his life back together? No
    Do I think that Pryor needs some media coaching? Ummm yes.

    Frankly there are people who do much worse things then Vick has that Pryor could support. Anyone who’s as upset as #5 needs to slow down pull their heads out of their v*g*n* and be retrospective enough to realize sometime we all say/do things that embaress us in life.

    On a side note maybe for the michigan game it can say HAHA RROD

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Post updated 1:45 – added Tressel’s comments from his presser.

  • matt

    it’s not so much the eye black as the comments.

    “everyone kills people”

    are you serious?

  • Pingback: Mariotti to Pryor: Apologize, or Lose My Support | WaitingForNextYear()

  • kathleen

    Stupendous headline, by the way.