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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | DECEMBER 14, 2010 7:10 AM

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Support and forgive star athletes

I find the views expressed by JohnPatrick Brown in his Dec. 10 letter shameful and unrepresentative of many Iowa fans. He argued that no one would have cared what Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos did after Dec. 29, because he would no longer be an Iowa football player.

However, DJK would nonetheless be a part of the Iowa football family. Iowa fans have a tradition of supporting alumni through thick and thin, in both time spent at the University of Iowa and beyond.

DJK is a young man who got in over his head and made a serious mistake; no one denies this. But however tempted we may be to bristle in self-righteous disgust, our efforts are better suited supporting him and hoping that he may learn and grow from this. We should leave the parenting and mentoring to his family and the Iowa coaching staff.

Brown also believes that DJK has confirmed Iowa's reputation as a school pervaded by drugs and alcohol. Contrarily, I would point to the thousands of non-athlete students who drink themselves into the hospital and the police station on the weekends as evidence of this school's culture.

DJK is evidence for a better lesson Brown fails to note: College athletes are, despite all the television coverage and accolades and fame, still young. They are still growing up. Holding them to a higher standard is understandable, but we must acknowledge the unique pressures to which star athletes are subjected and try our best to support and forgive.

So much of DJK's life could be changed in the near future. I hope Iowa fans, who have celebrated DJK in his brightest moments, do not run from him during his darkest ones. If we run away, then we should feel ashamed.

Kevin J. O'Neill
UI graduate student


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