DEVILLE: “Spicing Things Up A Bit”
Here’s our take on the firestorm surrounding JaMarkus McFarland, his mother and The New York Times
by Matt Deville
Tiger Rag Senior Editor
(At left) Lufkin (Texas) defensive tackle JaMarkus McFarland committed to Oklahoma on Christmas Day
It seems the hoopla surrounding the recruitment of Lufkin, Texas defensive tackle JaMarkus McFarland is growing.
On Christmas Day, an inflammatory article in The New York Times was published giving a blow-by-blow account of McFarland’s recruitment and subsequent commitment to Oklahoma.
The article, written by Houston-based journalist Thayer Evans, sensationalized a number of alleged recruiting indiscretions other schools committed in the recruitment of McFarland.
McFarland’s mother, Kashemeyia Adams, made most of the claims that her son was exposed to wild parties, drugs and women while on a visit to Texas. She also directed a number of allegations toward USC and LSU, including wild partying in a stretch hummer in Los Angeles and recruiting hostesses sitting on laps of recruits in Baton Rouge.
Adams, who is a practicing Pentecostal (as stated in the story), has never actually seen her son play a single football game. But she took quite an active role in helping her son choose his collegiate destination. One section of Evans’ feature was entitled “Mother Knows Best.”
Really, does she? You know, since she is so in tune with her son’s on-the-field exploits.
Adams had plenty to say about the University of Texas as she directed her ire towards coach Mack Brown. She criticized the Longhorns head man for the number of flat screen televisions he has in his home. Also, she blasted LSU over the fact a maid service cleans the rooms of Tiger football players in their on-campus apartments.
First of all, Mack Brown is allowed to have as many televisions in his home as he pleases, considering this is America and all. And while maid service for college athletes seems a bit excessive, any athletic department has the right to take care of its student-athletes. These athletes, especially football players, do a great deal in terms of helping the university – and put their bodies in harms way in doing so. And considering they balance academics with their athletic responsibilities, a student-athlete might not have the free time it takes to change the sheets or do a load of laundry.
Evans also quoted details from a paper McFarland wrote as a class assignment. The paper consisted of embellished incidents stemming from his on-campus visits to Texas, LSU and USC.
McFarland even admitted he “spiced things up” as to create a better story for the paper. Evans reported the details from the paper in the New York Times article without McFarland’s knowledge.
“Some things we knew were kind of mixed up because (the reporter) got a paper of mine,” McFarland said. “The paper I wrote for an English class - it was spiced up a little bit for class. But a majority of it was correct.
A recent article by Orangebloods.com, a Texas Longhorn website affiliated with Rivals.com, included dissenting accounts from other witnesses who were with McFarland on his visit to Austin.
Orangebloods.com columnist Chip Brown obtained comments from other McFarland family members stating JaMarkus wanted to attend Texas, but was steered to Oklahoma by his mother.
“I really believe that JaMarkus had his heart set on playing at Texas,” Tony McFarland, JaMarkus’ uncle, told Orangebloods.com. “And he even said that. He wanted to go to Texas, and somehow, or someway his mind got changed and he wasn’t going to go against his mother. His mother wanted him to go to Oklahoma and something happened with her and Texas.”
It was also pointed out in Chip Brown’s editorial that Evans has a history of penning sensational, “one-sided” stories in the weeks preceding National Signing Day.
A year ago, Evans wrote a controversial piece concerning the recruitment of California running back Darrell Scott, who eventually chose Colorado over Texas.
And for Tiger fans, it wasn’t long ago that Evans made headlines after his tell-all piece about Ryan Perrilloux on National Signing Day in 2005. Evans’ story, which appeared in USA Today, contained the infamously disputed comments Perrilloux made about his future teammates at LSU as well as his lofty Heisman aspirations in Baton Rouge.
Texas coach Mack Brown was asked about Evans’ most-recent story over the weekend. Brown discounted the credibility of the story and dismissed Evans’ exploits as propaganda.
“One-sided stories usually don’t make it when sources aren’t checked on the other side,” Brown said. “The story has absolutely no credibility with me because the writer did the same thing exactly last year and it’s obvious he has an agenda, in my mind, against Texas.”
Coach Brown went on to add that he invites the NCAA to look into these allegations.
“We encourage the NCAA to check out every player we’re recruiting ever year,” Mack Brown added. “We call them and ask them to. We welcome them there.”
With all things considered, taking into account McFarland had his heart set on playing for Texas, it would be interesting to find out what really swayed his feelings to choose the Sooners. And considering his mother’s inflammatory comments, as well as the fact she allegedly steered him to Oklahoma, one has to wonder what was her real motivation in doing so?
Maybe the NCAA should check into that?
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.