COMMENTARY: Bowden Will Get It Right

Our society has become very adept at criticizing others. It doesn't matter what the situation or issue. We are experts at telling others what to do and how to do it.

Never mind the fact that we usually know little of the true goings on behind the scenes, or anything about the parties involved. We have the uncanny knack of being able to sit in judgement and make tough decisions for everyone else.

And it doesn't hurt us one bit.

Such has been the case for Tommy Bowden in recent days - weeks, really - concerning DeAndre McDaniel.

McDaniel, you recall, was charged with assault of a high and aggravated nature back in June after his girlfriend filed a complaint against him with the Central Police Department. Since then, Bowden has had no shortage of people more than willing to tell him how to handle the situation.

Kick him off the team. Suspend him for one game. Maybe three. Or do nothing, because he's innocent until proven guilty.

There has been criticism for allowing McDaniel to continue to practice. There has been criticism of Clemson's overall discipline policy. One writer, my good friend Ron Morris of The State, has suggested that the school change its policy to mirror that of South Carolina - one in which a player is automatically suspended regardless of whether the charge is a felony or misdemeanor.

Why someone - anyone - would compare policies and disciplinary issues between Clemson and South Carolina is beyond me. The numbers alone point to how absurd that is.

Which gets directly to my point.

Tommy Bowden doesn't care what you think. He doesn't care what I think. He doesn't care what anyone thinks.

What he cares about is getting it right, and being fair in the process.

Does that mean he's perfect? No, not in the least. But given his track record in such matters Bowden has proven that any decision or recommendation he makes is done with what's best for Clemson University in mind.

He has a plan of action in place that has been a proven success where issues of discipline are concerned. Why would he change that plan based on what you or I think, especially since none of us know nearly as much about such issues as he does?
If he were at the helm of a program full of renegades, that would be one thing. But the character of the kids he recruits has been consistently at or above standard in his nine years on the job.

Does he miss on occasion? Yes. Do good kids make bad decisions and get in trouble? Yes.

And on the rare occasion his players do get in trouble, his mode of operation is always the same:

Don't rush to judgement. Gather all the facts. Try to be fair to both sides. Make the right decision at the right time.

You can argue that Cortney Vincent shouldn't have played in the bowl game last season. I did on my show, simply because it looked like Bowden was playing him because the Tigers were woefully short at linebacker.

But as we know there were other circumstances going on behind the scenes and, ultimately, the Vincent saga played out as only it could - with his dismissal this spring.

Which gets back to the original point. Tommy Bowden didn't care what I thought last December. Public opinion won't sway him now.

He has a plan of action in place that has been a proven success where issues of discipline are concerned. Why would he change that plan based on what you or I think, especially since none of us know nearly as much about such issues as he does?

No, Bowden's handle on discipline at Clemson is fine. His track record is consistent. His bosses are behind him 100 percent.

And that's really all that matters.

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