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DULLACK COLUMN: Campbell must reevaluate his priorities if Cass Tech QB wants to get his life, career back on track

By: Jeff Dullack, January 27, 2014, 8:00 am
For Jayru Campbell, it’s no longer about Michigan State.
It’s no longer about being a four-star quarterback.
It’s no longer about winning state championships or football games in general.
For Jayru Campbell, this isn’t about football anymore.
It’s about getting back on track to being the person, that everyone saw burst onto the scene a few years ago and took the state of Michigan by storm as a freshman.
While it is now widely-known around the area that the Detroit Cass Tech junior all-state field general was arrested after reputedly assaulting a school security guard during school hours, many things surrounding Campbell are still up in the air. Including his once-bright future that was all but guaranteed after his brilliant performances that led the Technicians to repeat state championship when he was a freshman and sophomore, efforts that brought him national attention in the recruiting ranks.
Committed to Michigan State since this past summer, Campbell may not have a scholarship offer from the Spartans for much longer after virtually the whole country learning of the results of Wednesday’s incident.
Immediately following the alleged assault, an incident caught on tape that subsequently went viral on the internet, Campbell was taken into police custody, a jailing that lasted two days and included being charged with assault and battery.
Campbell’s actions began spiraling out of control in November when the star signal-caller struck a member of the Novi Detroit Catholic Central football team after the Shamrocks upset Cass Tech season in the Division 1 final foor, bringing an end to the Technicians’ quest for a third state title.
It was rumored that Campbell’s father was sent to jail in the hours prior to the semifinal game, which could have led to his actions after the game.
There are no excuses for Campbell’s actions in recent months.
There are no excuses for assaulting a school security guard, someone tasked with the job of making the school environment safer.
Disciplinary actions towards Campbell by Cass Tech or law enforcement are not yet known, however, harsh punishment will likely by justified considering the extremity of his actions.
It would not come as much of a surprise to anyone if Campbell is suspended, or even expelled from the school for the events that took place on Wednesday. Nor would it come as much of a surprise if Michigan State chooses not to honor its scholarship offer to Campbell and pulls it, leaving his collegiate future uncertain.
There have been two types of reaction towards the most recent news after Wednesday’s events.
The first has been from those personally attacking Campbell, using slurs and derogatory remarks about him in response to the recent events.
The second has been from those who defend each of Campbell’s actions and have been openly criticizing media outlets for reporting on the situation.
Both parties are wrong.
While what Campbell has done is inexcusable and was a result of extremely poor judgment, people still need to remember that he is still a kid. A high school junior, a baby-faced 16-year old who should not be personally attacked like he has in the past few days.
Everyone remembers mistakes they have made in high school and every single one of those mistakes have something in common, they were made by a kid, not the person they eventually became as an adult.
That’s not to say that the actions don’t deserve swift and stern punishment, but that will come from those in the position to make that decision. Not from outsiders, who only have a small amount of the information needed to make such a decision.
On the other hand, to defend anything that Campbell has done does nothing to solve the predicament he has gotten himself into, it only further reinforces the idea that actions that are unacceptable in everyday life, are something you can get away with if you’re a hot enough athletic prospect.
And in this day and age, the amount of time it takes to go from the penthouse to the outhouse, as we saw on Wednesday night, is mere seconds. Virtually instantaneously word began to spread like wildfire, via text, social media and soon area television and print news outlets.
Reporters and news organizations are in the business of getting news out as soon as possible, almost as much as getting it right. The blame can’t be on those who find information and report it, it still belongs on those who made the mistake or played a role in the incident in the first place.
There’s nothing wrong with being there to support someone in a trying time such as the one Campbell finds himself in, but there is a difference between supporting someone and enabling them by believing this is anything but unacceptable.
And as long as he can get that type of support from those closest to him and that want the best for him personally, it will be a step in the right direction.
But a step in the right direction will only be the first step of many needed to be made in his near future to re-find his footing as a young man and an athlete.
The next several months can’t be about football for Campbell, they must be about things that happen off the field and getting back on track to ensure what was once a bright-shining future doesn’t continue to slip away.