On June 23rd I reported on the devastating news about Jeremiah Masoli who was permanently relieved of duty as the Oregon Duck’s star quarterback after a string of stupid behavior. I reported that news from the perspective of a threatened Duck. I wrote that Masoli’s behavior “put our team’s standing for next year’s season in jeopardy,” and this was considered a “greater sacrilege,” worse than “back-washing into the Eucharist cup.” I admit that while writing the piece my concern was mostly centered on the team’s future standings. In my defense, research finding would predict that response. In fact, Okimoto and Wenzel (2009) reported that strong group identifiers respond more aggressively to perceived intragroup terrorism than intergroup terrorism. So it was only natural that I responded to Masoli’s behavior as if he committed a domestic attack of terrorism on the potential future success of the Duck’s football team, which, as you might recall, is a sacred institution for many Oregonians.
In light of the literature, I feel my biased in-group response was justifiable and warranted. However, be that as it may, I feel I owe Masoli an apology. I might have hastily lashed-out when I said that this last stunt would be the end of Masoli. I thought he was “pissing away” his chance to fully benefit from his talents. Well, he has proven me very wrong. He managed to finish his undergraduate degree while under the stress of public and legal scrutiny. On top of that, he applied and was accepted into a graduate program at Ole Miss. And the icing on the cake: he’s going to play football for them! That’s pretty impressive. I admire that he’s willing to take on the challenge of graduate school. But I’m most impressed that he was able to take a bad situation, turned it around, and make it a positive one. I think he should be applaud for that.