ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Motorcycle Madness
by Kevin Monroe
5/13/05

After the unfortunate motorcycle accident that Jason Williams (former Duke Basketball Player) had a couple of years ago, fans' hearts went out to him.  Jason, or "J" as he was known at the time of the accident, was one of the most likable guys you will ever meet, that is, unless you were an NC State or UNC fan. When he had his accident, he was just riding his motorcycle as a law-abiding citizen and had a freak accident. 

Jason lost control of his bike and slammed into a pole.  The accident severed a nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis, and tore three of the four ligaments in his knee.  He underwent two operations and returned to Duke to rehabilitate his leg.  People worldwide reached out to Jason, sending him letters wishing him well, and praying for a speedy recovery. The Chicago Bulls even paid Williams his salary though it was a direct conflict with his contract.  It has been two years since the accident and Jason is not currently playing in the NBA.

Fast forward 24 months and we have a very similar accident situation with an athlete, but there are some very obvious differences in their stories. Kellen Winslow Jr. has been a handful for fans and coaches to stomach since high school.  On national signing day, Kellen didn't want to go to Miami, but his dad forced him to, and he nearly came to tears, live on "Countdown to Signing Day" on Fox Sports.

Then, while at Miami, he was famous for his on-the-field antics and off-the-field press conferences.  He has always been a walking sound bite for the media. Kellen's accident happened just minutes after leaving a otorcycle stunt exhibition.  Although he has not come out and admitted it, most speculate that he was attempting tricks when he crashed.  Unlike Williams, Winslow had very little experience on motorcycles and ignored the advice to get lessons.  Many fans feel betrayed, and there is not a lot of sympathy going out to Kellen during his recovery. 

On May 10, ESPN.com reported, "Kellen was released from the hospital Tuesday, nine days after a motorcycle accident left him with internal injuries and a damaged right knee. Winslow walked out of the Cleveland Clinic on metal crutches, putting no weight on his right leg. He wore a Cleveland Browns T-shirt and sweat pants. He smiled and gave a thumbs up. When asked how he was feeling, he said 'good'". Kellen's accident was also in conflict with his contract, and he may be asked to forfeit his entire signing bonus.  On top of that, if the injury to his knee shows any torn ligaments, he will miss the entire 2005 season."

At some point, these athletes need to realize what they have been given. Their God-given talents have put them in a position to be set for life, and in some cases, to set their extended family for life, but some find a way to mess it up.  Whether it's drugs, gambling, or other extracurricular activities, they need to wake up before circumstances like this become a living nightmare.

Kevin Monroe
kevin@downeastsports.com