There Are Actually Media People Saying Leonard Fournette Shouldn’t Play Football Next Year

I know this is a political blog and not a sports blog, so forgive me for a moment while I explode on this gargantuan stupidity

With the national media attention comes a variety of opinions on not just how LSU should handle Fournette, but how Fournette should handle life before the NFL. And on Wednesday morning, a pair of national writers – Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch and ProFootball Talk’s Mike Florio – suggested that Fournette should sit out next season in order to avoid hurting his stock before entering his name into the 2017 NFL Draft.

“He owes himself the opportunity to maximize his market, and providing LSU with free labor is a foolish risk,” Deitsch said. “I would find trusted business advisors, enroll at a high-performance facility that specializes in training NFL prospects, and educate myself on the business of the NFL from the summer of 2016 to the 2017 combine period. If you think Fournette’s draft status will go down because he leaves college, it’s exactly the opposite. He’ll create a better market by not giving scouts more film to pick out flaws.”

Added Florio: “”Why love football when football doesn’t properly love you back? By playing for LSU in 2016, Fournette risks becoming the next Marcus Lattimore. Even if Fournette comes through the experience healthy, he will have done nothing to enhance his value beyond what it already is.”

I’m philosophically opposed to someone losing their job because of something they said, but on the other hand if I’m Sports Illustrated I’m firing Richard Deitsch today. What kind of a-hole writes for a publication marketed to sports fans and suggests that fans be denied the opportunity to see one of the best players in sports?

It’s novel – the anti-sports sportswriter. That novelty might not last long.

Yes, one reason running backs aren’t quite the marquee players in the NFL you’d think they would be is the wear and tear lots of carries will inflict on their bodies. Turns out that’s one major benefit of being a running back at LSU – Les Miles believes in a stable of backs and not giving one back 25-30 carries a game. But when there’s a dominant back, like Jeremy Hill and Fournette, he’ll use him as much as he needs to win.

But the idea that Fournette would skip his junior year to sit around and ride a stationary bike rather than hone his craft and his legend on the field is stupid, and it’s one that only somebody who’s never actually played football – or perhaps any other organized sports – would give voice to.

Players play. If you’re a Columbia J-school graduate whose only real exposure to sports is that everybody-gets-a-trophy soccer league you played in when you were six, you don’t understand that, but if you’ve actually put on pads you certainly do.

Thankfully, this stupidity was slapped down – and quickly.

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit quickly came to Fournette’s defense, calling out other media members for even broaching the topic.

“This idea that, ‘He shouldn’t have come back, look what happened to him,’ you can point to one or two guys in the history of the game that came back and got an injury,” Herbstreit said on Mike and Mike. “These guys recover from ACLs in eight months now. They come back bigger, badder and faster. We plant these seeds of, ‘Why did he come back? The players always have the short end of the stick.’

“It’s just a bunch of crap. It’s not real-world stuff. It’s make-believe stuff and stuff that is bad for the game, to be honest.”

And Fournette himself put an end to the discussion, thankfully.

This Saturday Eastern Michigan comes into Tiger Stadium. Eastern Michigan gives up 377 yards per game rushing (6.8 yards a carry), and they’ve played Old Dominion, Wyoming, Ball State and Army.

The school record for rushing yards in a game at LSU is 250 yards. Fournette probably breaks that record Saturday, and he probably breaks it by halftime. Then Deitsch and Florio can pretend he’s sitting out for the NFL as he rests for the second half.



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