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A Tale Of Two Mike Williams

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Seriously, did the Daily Orange just decide two weeks ago to blow the doors off the building?  Another good read today, this time by Tyler Dunne, on the enigmatic Mike Williams.  The article is about the two sides of the coin that make up the former Syracuse wide receiver.

Did he quit or was he pushed out?

Is he a malcontent or just misunderstood?

Is he a jerk or a good-hearted kid?

Seems to depend who you ask.

Finally, at least, we get some kind of insight into the events that led up to Williams's dismissal/quitting of the program.  According to Williams and Donte Davis, Williams was facing a multi-game suspension after the ill-fated events of last November.  The coaches put it to a team vote and, according to multiple players, the vote went down a very curious line:

Later that day, he held a team vote to decide whether or not Williams should stay on the team. It wasn’t even close. Multiple players said that the black players generally voted "yes" and the white players generally voted "no."

Davis said more than 80 percent of the team voted Williams to stay.

Williams, to his credit, says Marrone tried to call him but Mike was unreachable.  His cellphone was in his car and he was not at home due to a roommate's illness.  Since he didn't get a response during such a crucial time, Marrone assumed what any of us would assume...Mike doesn't want to come back.  And so Marrone announced that Williams was no longer with the team.

Williams said he tried desperately to get back on the team after that, even meeting with DOC Gross who supposedly agreed initially with Mike.  In the end, Marrone told Mike Williams that he would "see me next year."  After that, Williams decided to go pro and the rest was history.

SO, let's extrapolate...

What I'm supposed to read into this is that Williams didn't in fact quit.  And yet, I'm left with the exact same impression I started with...that he DID quit, just not how we thought he did.

Look, this all goes back to the same thing with Lamar Middleton and his trip to the doctor's office that was "misconstrued."  Mike Williams' eligibility and career hangs in the balance of Doug Marrone's impending decision.  Mike knows that he doesn't have his cellphone and he knows that by not being home in his apartment he is unreachable.  He knows that there is a really good chance Doug is trying to reach him.

And yet...he does nothing.  At least, not until it's too late. I don't know if you've ever been in a position like that, for a job or an do whatever it takes to stay in contact with that person and make sure the lines of communication are open.  Didn't happen for whatever reason.

And when he finally does speak with Marrone, the head coach tells him in no uncertain terms that his 2010 season is over but he is welcome to come back in 2011 for his senior year.  According to the article and Williams' own words, Marrone did not kick him off the team, he simple suspended Williams for the remainder of the season.  That seems the appropriate punishment for a second-offense and Williams' MIA actions following.

Mike Williams chose not to return to the team and his senior season.  Doug Marrone honored the team vote and was willing to keep Mike Williams on the team and that offer was not accepted.  There you go.

(Am I crazy?  That's how it reads.  When someone says Doug Marrone "didn't budge," that's highly inaccurate.  Marrone budged a lot from what I can tell.  He's kicked players off the team for FAR LESS than what Mike Williams did).

So fine, that issue is put to bed. The rest of the article is a discussion on Mike Williams The Man.  Is he a great teammate or a clubhouse cancer?  Is he a sinner or a saint?  As you might depends who you ask.

His high school coach Tony Truilizio says Williams is "not a character-issue kid," not a malcontent and didn't even swear.

Compare that to the anonymous teammate who says...

"He stood out as one of the only people to not put forth effort. It’s not like everybody on the team doesn’t put forth effort. Bullsh**. He was the only one who didn’t put forth even an adequate amount."

On one side we hear about what an amazing guy he is.  On the other, what a problem he is.  To some Mike Williams has been an angel and to others a devil.  The truth is, Mike Williams is...a human being.  Neither side is right and, maybe, neither side is wrong.

Finally, at the beginning of the article, there's a mention that "practically everyone was out past curfew" the night Williams was caught coming back from Turning Stone and, therefore, he shouldn't have been punished.  That's exactly why I know Doug Marrone is doing the right thing...because every time we find out the reasons behind why a guy got kicked off or quit the team, there's always an excuse along the lines of "well everyone was breaking the rules, so..." or "it was a mis-communication, I was rescuing the elderly from a fire in the old folks' home."  There always seems to be an excuse for why this player and that player should still be on the team.

And that's all they are...excuses.