The most distressing aspect of Isaiah Crowell's latest and most egregious lapse in judgment wasn't his arrest or jail-booking or his lame excuse that the gun found under his seat belongs to someone else or even his swift dismissal from the Georgia football team.
Rather, some 24 hours after losing it all -- his scholarship, his meal ticket, his freedom -- this was Crowell's first public response, via Twitter.
"Seem like somebody burnin candles on me...God has a plan and all the hatas can say whatever, because ima get stronger and still reach da top."
That's your defense?
Somebody, somewhere has a voodoo curse on you? An Auburn fan, maybe. Or maybe a Bama fan still angry that you shunned Nick Saban and went to Georgia. Yeah, maybe Harvey Updyke learned that in chemistry, too.
So everybody who's on your case right now hates you? Go read Brentson Buckner's Facebook wall, Isaiah.
Most of us cannot identify with you. Most of us never were schmoozed by every college recruiter in the country. Most of us don't understand the pressure of playing big-time college football.
Buckner does. Every recruiter in the country wanted him when he signed with Clemson. He knows the pressure -- and not just as a college kid. He played in the NFL. His livelihood depended on it. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They take their football fairly seriously in Pittsburgh.
And, like you, Isaiah, Buckner is a Carver High product. Carver is a very proud school. No, it's more than a school. It's a community, one rich with pride and history.
Buckner isn't happy with you either. Read his wall:
"This situation can either become your story or your testimony! That will solely be up to you! Isaiah you must evaluate who you call friend and who you surround yourself with. You must start by looking in the mirror and
taking full responsibility for what you are facing!"
No one's burning candles. No one stuffed HIS gun under the seat of YOUR car. If you won't listen to anybody else, listen to Buckner.
He agrees that God has a plan for you. But be careful, there. Are you suggesting that God stuffed that 9 mm Luger under your seat then moved the Athens-Clarke County police to set up a vehicle checkpoint just to bust you? He does work in mysterious ways, but that's kind of a stretch, don't you think?
I'm going out on a limb here. I think it's at least barely possible that you have grown accustomed to hearing how talented you are and how great you will become. And that, along the way, you've started believing that you are exempt from the rules everyone else must follow.
In a way, that's understandable. Our society is far too preoccupied with hero-worshipping.
"This is a 19-year-old kid who, all his life, it's been about him," Buckner said by telephone. "People only care about Isaiah Crowell, the football player. They don't care about Isaiah Crowell, the person. I don't care about Isaiah, the football player. I care about Isaiah, the son Isaiah, the brother Isaiah, the student and, hopefully one day, Isaiah, the husband, and Isaiah, the father. Football will be over one day. It has a 100 percent retirement rate."
One would think that two suspensions in your freshman season would send the clear message that your coaches have certain expectations. It's reasonable to think that those expectations include not riding around Athens at 2 o'clock in the morning with an illegal gun under the seat of your car.
"Everybody has a right to own a gun," Buckner said. "But there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Everything has rules, and rules have consequences."
Mark Richt made that pretty clear by kicking you off the team. Does he hate you?
Read the words from Buckner:
"We are G.W. Carver High brothers. I will always be in your corner. Not to tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. My love for my Tiger brotherhood is deeper than a sport! It's real!
"Just remember: 'WHEN THE CAMERAS AND FANS ARE GONE, WE ALL WE GOT!'
"If you need me I'm here."
Does that sound like hate? Sounds like tough love to me. Sounds like excellent advice.
You are right about one thing, Isaiah: You're still only 19. You can get stronger and still reach the top.
Your story or your testimony.
You make the call.
-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.