(photo:Auburn media file)
By now most Auburn fans have heard the news that Auburn Quarterback Nick Marshall was cited in Georgia for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Marshall was on his way home when he was stopped for tinted windows.
It’s important to note that Nick was not arrested. He was allowed to leave but will have to pay a $1,100 fine by Sept.10th to avoid appearing in court. In today’s environment if this happened to the average young person it would not even be newsworthy. But Nick Marshall is not the average young person. When you’re a potential Heisman candidate and the offensive leader on an SEC Championship team, your actions reflect not only on yourself but on your team and especially your coach.
Malzahn released a statement to the media last night saying he was, “Very disappointed and I will address it with (Nick) accordingly.”
Nick’s story has been an uplifting one – till now. Given a second chance by Malzahn after being dismissed (as a D-back) from Georgia’s football program in 2011 he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream to play quarterback in the SEC. He had made such a turnaround in restoring not only his career but in assuming a leadership role on the Auburn Football Team.
And that one word “leadership” is why his misdemeanor drug offense is such a big deal. A big part of leadership is example. What Nick has done is set the wrong example for his teammates and for all those kids that play backyard football wearing No.14.
He has also put the man who gave him a second chance in a more than uncomfortable position. He was scheduled to join Coach Malzahn and two other teammates at SEC Football Media Days which begins Monday. Now instead of Gus taking questions from the podium about how he feels his team will defend their SEC Championship, he will be peppered with questions about Nick’s punishment and future with the Tigers. Gus and the Auburn contingent will now have to deal with negative publicity in what otherwise should be a positive moment in the spotlight.
In light of all this, will Nick still be making the trip to Hoover? Will he be replaced by another Tiger, leaving his coach and teammates to answer questions about his actions?
It will be interesting to see what Gus chooses to do on Monday. But if it were me, I would still have Nick at Media Days. Let him take the embarrassing heat from the press. Maybe that will help him realize how a leader’s actions have consequences.