Oh the difference a year makes.
The August 18th, 2009 cover of Sports Illustrated dawned a fierce looking Jeremiah Masoli preparing to take a snap behind center Jordan Holmes.
He stood stoically, with eye black under each eye, pointing with both hands directly at the reader.
“PARTY CRASHERS,” read the headline. “THE DUCKS HAVE THE FIREPOWER TO SHAKE UP THE BCS.”
Just under a year later, that same face adorns the homepage of SportsIllustrated.com.
And while the editors could’ve easily reused the “PARTY CRASHERS” headline, they chose something a bit more dramatic.
“THE LIE,” it said. “THE UNTOLD STORY OF JEREMIAH MASOLI’S DOWNFALL AT OREGON.”
The story adds an angle to the saga of Masoli’s fall from the power not told before: his. One that needed to be heard. The only problem: it should’ve been told many months ago.
In the article, Masoli accounts his recollection of what happened on January 27th. He admits to being inside the fraternity house with Garrett Embry. He admits to lying to the Eugene Police Department and his coach about being in that house.
But he never admits to stealing a laptop that night. He denies it, and a sworn statement from football player Jeff Palmer indicates that the entire theft incident rests on Embry’s shoulder alone.
And that Masoli wasn’t even involved.
We know by now that Chip Kelly runs his program with an expectation of pure honesty from his players, as he very well should. Masoli was all but honest as he told Chip he wasn’t in that house that night. Had he been honest, he very well might still be a Duck.
If all this is true, it leaves one question. How could the Eugene Police Department arrest and charge Masoli without any hard evidence that linked him to the stolen MacBooks?
Either the EPD is incredibly incompetent or Masoli isn’t telling the whole truth in his Sports Illustrated article. Both aren’t too far fetched. The EPD has displayed a certain level of incompetence in recent months, one example being the police department’s use of Tasers in seemingly non-violent situations. And I think we all know by now that Masoli has lied before.
The truth probably lies somewhere in between these two scenarios.
Regardless of whatever happened that night, Masoli is on a serious push to fix up his image. The Masoli family hired a San Francisco based crisis management firm for some much needed public relations work. Its efforts resulted in the websitewww.jeremiahmasoli.net.
The site lists a fair amount of what either the agency or Masoli calls “Media Mistakes.” One thing the site fails to list is an account of Jeremiah’s mistakes. Even if his four page long story on Sports Illustrated is 100 percent true, he’s still made a few of them.
Perusing through the site, one sees quotes from Masoli’s coaches, teachers, and pastors, among other people. The quotes offer an unsung amount of praise.
“In 2007 Jeremiah Masoli was one [of] my team captains. The qualities I look for in a team caption are trust, integrity, sincerity, accountability and responsibility,” Masoli’s old coach, George Rush, is quoted as saying. “In his role as captain Jeremiah met these expectations and even surpassed them.”
Trust. Integrity. Sincerity. Accountability. Responsibility. The trust is gone. Integrity maybe not. He was less than sincere. And it’s finally now that he’s taking the responsibility of being held accountable for his actions.
“I made a few very poor decisions in the past year, and I apologize to my family, friends and fans for them. But I am not the person who has been portrayed in many media stories,” Masoli says on his website.
This brief apology is all Masoli offers to his supporters: the fans, the Eugene community, the University of Oregon. They are the ones who stood behind him until they felt they couldn’t any longer. The ones who believed that this could be made right, until he proved it couldn’t.
Again, I ask, what took ya so long?