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30 for 30: Youngstown Boys

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Maurice Clarett is fascinating.  Jim Tressel... was his coach?  They were both from Youngstown, which apparently means something to the directors of the film.

Clarett, after a successful freshman year at Ohio State University during which he excelled at running back and led the team to a national title, was crucified for daring, DARING to accept some kind of sanctioned gift from a booster to supplement his lack of income from the enormously profitable college sports complex he was a part of.  He then ended up as a sacrifice to the bureaucratic egoes of the NCAA, serving a two-year school-imposed suspension that was wildly out of line for his behavior.  He then made some poor choices, washed out of the NFL before the end of his first training camp, and eventually went to jail after falling into a pattern of drug and alcohol abuse.

Then, he started a blog.  It was assisted by his girlfriend, who took Maurice's notes from prison and put them into WordPress after every visit.  The blog has since been taken down, but Clarett proved himself an erudite, philosphophical writer, a distant cry from the careless thug that he was portrayed as in the media.  Hardly a shocker, I suppose, that a black man who challenges the system is portrayed as an incorrigible self-centered drug addict, but shameful nonetheless.  When Clarett was able to harness the power of the web as a platform, he was able to correct the mistaken impression that the media had given him, and make people realize that hey, maybe he got railroaded.

Youngstown Boys is a triumph, fall-from-grace, redemption story that happens to be true, and it works well.  Then they threw some stuff about Jim Tressel in there, I guess because they needed some filler time.  Anyway, it's a good movie, despite the irrelevant white father figure.


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