• October 25, 2014

Fawning fans share blame for Young's demise

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 4:30 am

ANALYSIS

As a University of Texas student, Texas Ex and season ticket holder, I remember saying a lot of things about Vince Young.  

Man, Vince should have won the Heisman.

Jeff Fisher never liked VY.  He wasn’t his draft pick and now he’s strong-arming him out of that starting role.  I guess VY was too much of a threat to Michael Vick and the Eagles had to part ways with him.  

But one thing not I nor any other burnt orange and white-clad diehard UT fan ever said about Vince was this: He needs to grow up.

We never held him accountable, because as Longhorns, and Young and Madison High fans we never held our fandom in check.  

That is why Young filed for bankruptcy earlier this week.  

Although the decision affects him and reflects upon his fiscal responsibility, you, I and all the other Longhorn fans who had the pleasure of watching him work his magic have to share in the UT legend’s demise.  

You know the VY story.  Kid goes to Texas, loses big games against Oklahoma, learns how to throw, beats the Big 10’s top programs, takes back the Cotton Bowl and goes on the help the ‘Horns win their first national title in 35 years.  

Young did it all with a flare and certain chutzpah that had me yelling at the top of my lungs on Jan. 1, 2005 when he ran all over Michigan and told the UT contingent they would be back at the Rose Bowl the next season to win the national title.  

And there I was, cheering on from Sec. 299, sporting a burnt-orange jersey with the No. 10 on it ready to follow the charismatic quarterback with the East Texas accent into the fire to take on the Trojan Army.  

It was this kind of fandom that fueled Young’s ego and led to his downfall.  

Young’s first professional contract with the Tennessee Titans guaranteed him $25.7 million, followed by a $5 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.  

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle said Young has assets between $500,001 and $1 million while his liabilities are listed between $1,001,000 and $10 million.  

I’m no accountant, but it looks like he’s blown through at least $31 million.  

I’m not going to wag my finger and judge the guy. If you gave me that much money when I was 22- to 26-years-old I would buy a huge house, penthouse suites in Las Vegas and spend a couple of months at Disney World.

And when you’re on an up-and-coming AFC team and win the AFC Rookie of the Year Award for 2006, it’s easy to see how the good times would roll in a big way.  

But at some point, Young needed to take responsibility for himself, his checkbook and his career.  

It didn’t help when he came back to Austin in 2008 for a jersey retirement ceremony and the fans around town welcomed home the prodigal son. Fans patted him on the back last year when he finally earned his degree 11 years after first enrolling at UT.  

And the next time he shows up on the sideline, we’re probably going to give him another warm welcome.  

No wonder the guy said the Eagles were the next dream team, that he didn’t have the slightest idea why he wasn’t in the NFL and thought he was too good to play in Canada.  

But the CFL is a paycheck. Could it be any worse than playing in cold cities like Buffalo and Green Bay?

But despite all of his delusion and lack of accountability, we still love Vince.  

A few weeks ago, my editor wanted to decorate the office with sports posters. He asked us whom we’d want to see plastered on the wall in the newsroom.  

Without hesitation, the first name out of my mouth was Vince Young.  

He then asked me,“What about Earl Campbell?”

No, in my mind Vince is the greatest college player and Longhorn of all-time.  

And that’s part of the problem.

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