Thompson photo

Jack Thompson takes a ride over to Pullman: Cougar legend meets with the 16 Polynesian players at Washington State

LAST WEEK, Jack Thompson took time off work to gas up the car and drive across the state to Pullman, having requested to meet with all the Polynesian players on the football roster at Washington State. The Throwin’ Samon was at first reluctant to talk with about what took place. “First of all, who the hell told you about it?” Thompson asked CF.C.

Well, a Cougar legend meeting with 16 Polynesian players at Wazzu is something that tends to get noticed.  After some deliberation, Thompson agreed to talk to CF.C about what took place.

“They already knew they had done bad, the ones that put themselves in a position where something bad could happen,” said Thompson. “But what’s happening to these kids is not right, with people painting them with ‘the thug brush.’  And I just wanted them to know that in my community, we see those kids as decent, good young men – ones who made bad choices. But the question now is are you going to kill an ant with a sledgehammer?”

Thompson didn’t go over to WSU alone. His boyhood hero and mentor growing up, and the one who introduced him to football, Danny Pritchard, went with Thompson at his request (pictured above).

“My message to them and Danny’s message to them was that there is a whole community of people, that they might not realize, who have their backs,” said Thompson. “That we don’t believe what is being said in the paper is the whole story. If we did, if we thought you were bad apples, Danny and me wouldn’t have hopped in the car and driven across the state from Seattle to be here with you. 

“With that all being said, we also want you to know this: You can do better. You represent Polynesia in Pullman, you represent me and Danny, you represent all of us. You can do a better job.”

A RESOLUTION on the July incident involving nose tackle Robert Barber and T.J. Fehoko, and on the June incident involving Logan Tago, have yet to run their course. Safety Shalom Luani on Monday saw the Whitman County prosecutor decline to file charges for the August incident involving him.

But for Thompson, the prosecutor's statement doesn’t undo all of what Luani has gone through for the past month-plus.

“There’s a reason Mike Leach stood by Shalom,” Thompson said. “One, Shalom is a good person. And two, what was reported over and over again about Shalom in the newspapers (with the Pullman police statements) wasn’t true. It wasn’t the whole story.  So let me ask you something: who does Shalom see about that?

“I saw pictures of Shalom afterwards. He was the victim. He got jumped by (a bunch of) guys, he suffered a concussion, and a whole lot more.”

One positive from all of this, says Thompson, is that he has come away from it all with a stronger-than-ever opinion of Leach.

“Every group has its bad apples and when Mike Leach came out so publicly the other day -- and in light of the things Coach Leach has done in the past because he has never held back in letting go of bad apples, even when they were star players and starters – I wanted to do something. I wanted to talk to them as a group.  I didn’t want anyone to write about it, I just wanted to do it," said Thompson.

Any final thoughts?

“Mike Leach doesn’t see color. He sees good apples and bad apples. He walks the talk. I really respect that,” said Thompson.

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