The Oregon Ducks and the public world 

March, 16, 2010
Many programs in recent years have been stung by a run of player arrests; this winter, the actions of various Oregon Ducks seemed to be a fixture on the scrolling ticker at the bottom of TV screens.

The Oregon situation is unique because -- if you include the incident involving star running back LeGarrette Blount at the end of the season opener against the Boise State Broncos -- you've had embarrassing incidents involving the program's three most high-profile players: Blount, QB Jeremiah Masoli and RB LaMichael James.

Whenever we've seen a program with a run of unfortunate news, it might be one star player and then some reserves, or at least guys who aren't so out front. Not so with this Ducks team. Indirectly, it's pretty easy to draw a line about player leadership, then, because we have come to expect that your best players should be among your best leaders.

The fallout from these stories has been pretty intense. Last week, on the eve of James/Masoli's sentencing, as well as coach Chip Kelly's Friday press conference to address their punishments in regard to their futures as Ducks, many folks said the young Oregon coach -- a guy who hasn't been in his job for a full year -- must not have the respect of his players.

I don't think it's as simple as that.