COMMENTARY: Mountains out of molehills

IT'S THE INFORMATION AGE and ever since Al Gore invented the internet, we're all required to make mountains of molehills. Breaking News: Two college kids got in trouble for doing what college kids do. And we as fans are all up in arms about it because when we were young, to steal a phrase from Baz Luhrmann, the prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

We didn't do these kinds of things. Oh, heavens no.


But these are the days that we live in, where no infraction is unworthy of being Twittered and Tweeted and spreading like wildfire -- cannon fodder for message board flame wars.

'Oh, our defensive back was stopped by the Oregon State Police for driving 114 miles per hour in a Nissan Altima? Well, your defensive back was stopped for doing 104 in a Nissan Altima too, and then he got in a scuffle with a bouncer.' 'Hey, your defensive back could have killed somebody when he ran over that bus stop on a vacant street at 2 a.m. with nobody in sight -- so that trumps our kicker being arrested twice for DUI and remaining on the team because at least he didn't harm an innocent bus stop.'

I'm sure this isn't going to be well-received in some quarters. I might get some hate mail from someone who lost a loved one to a drunk driver, to someone driving way over the speed limit, to someone who was the victim of an assault -- or Dear Lord forbid, someone who was victimized by a roving band of golf cart thieves.

But pardon me if my response to all of this recent hullabaloo about Malcolm Marable and Ryan Murphy is to stifle a yawn.

Or even a chuckle.

BECAUSE WHEN I was 19 years old, I certainly never tried to get into a bar with someone else's ID. I never ran any stoplights right in front of a police officer, (sideways, no less). And I absolutely positively did not inhale even once during my college years. So the view is just fine from this high horse as I explain that Oregon State student-athletes represent the Institution must be held to a higher standard.

And I've got more righteous indignation for you. I will not have my sport populated by these ruffians. I expect the players who are fortunate enough to receive a full college education, (while they generate millions in revenue for others while sometimes living at or near the poverty line) to be reckless, violent, and full of fury -- but only between whistles and on the gridiron. I expect them, nay demand, for them to be perfect schoolboys the moment they set foot off of the field of play.

I'd like to continue but my sarcasm meter just exploded. So let me be serious for a moment.

THESE ARE THE times it has to be tough to be Mike Riley. In all reality, Marable being busted twice in such a short time frame is going to be received poorly by any- and everyone in Beaver Nation and I have to think he is looking -- at the very least -- at a multiple game suspension.

I'm pretty sure there remain some pre-set guidelines put in place a few years back at Oregon State that are going to point to Ryan Murphy getting a one-game suspension.

Riley is sure to look each one of them in the eye and tell them that he's sorely disappointed in them, and to remind them they DO in fact represent the University, that they are under the microscope.

BUT WHO ELSE other than me wonders if this is the type of thing that should be handled with running stairs, until you puke, and with Coach Cav barking at you the entire time. You know, like it almost certainly would have been handled before every speeding ticket was exposed to the light of day in blinding speed on the interwebs and throughout the media?

But on the bright side, I suppose, if none of these types of incidents happened at Oregon State or Oregon, then Oregonian columnist John Canzano wouldn't have a job and we wouldn't be able to experience his particular brand of moral outrage.

Oh wait, that's the opposite of the bright side.

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