by Max Brantley
Here's an interesting article in Sports Illustrated about Darren McFadden, the former Hog star whose stock in the NFL draft has suffered some because of off-the-field controversy. He and his advisors have decided the best course is to talk candidly about his life as a sign he's working to put things like bar scrapes behind him.
(I can't help but wonder if a little more such reporting on college phenoms -- as opposed to the typically heroic depiction of Hog stars as Bible- and family-revering types -- might be helpful to all concerned. The NFL ultimately probes deeply into all the top draft choices.) An excerpt:
Deserved or not, McFadden had an image problem. His team of advisers -- including former Olympic track star Mike Conley Sr. (marketing), Ian Greengross (contracts), Mike Vick (financial planning; no relation to the quarterback of the same name) and Frank Shaw and David Cornwell (legal counsel) -- decided to confront it head-on. They told McFadden to be open and honest in interviews with teams and media. Does he have a brother who used to be a Crip? Yes. And another who was a Blood. One brother is in prison for a drug-related offense, and another served five years for possession of crack with intent to distribute. McFadden spoke frankly as well about paternity questions he has faced recently and said he would accept responsibility for two children who may be his.
He also realized he had to stop putting himself in situations in which trouble could arise. This month McFadden chose to stay away from the "End of the World" Greek step show at Central Arkansas, an annual event circled on the social calendars of black college students throughout the region. Last year's gathering was marred by unruly behavior and gunfire. McFadden figured he had nothing to gain -- and a lot to lose -- by attending.