Rob Parker: Campbell story goes from good to sad

Published On: Mar 16 2014 04:52:38 PM EDT
DETROIT -

In this town, where so many young African American males have gone astray, turned to the streets because of the lack of jobs and opportunities, the Jayru Campbell story was supposed to be a good one.

After all, the good-looking, smart kid was en route to living out a dream, playing quarterback at Michigan State.

Campbell, the 17-year-old Cass Tech H.S. star, had already verbally committed to the Big Ten school.

On Monday, however, Campbell, a junior, was in Wayne County Circuit Court, pleading not guilty to charges that not only could derail his dreams of major college football, but put him in jail for up to 10 years, if found guilty of the charges.

And the charges are serious. Campbell, being treated as an adult, faces charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, a felony, and aggravated assault, a misdemeanor. Worse for Campbell, there's a video of the incident.

Campbell entered a plea of not guilty.

Sadly, this whole mess is because Campbell wouldn't remove his hood inside the school building, a rule for all students.

A hoodie?

This was totally uncalled for, an act that changed the course of this young kid's life in mere seconds.

Instead of doing what was right - remove his hood and continue his headed-in-the-right-direction life - Campbell allegedly grabbed the 23-year-old school security guard who asked him to remove his hood and slammed him to the ground head first.

The guard received a facial injury and an open wound to his head.

The video, in this case, is chilling. It shows a man that appears to be Campbell body-slamming a school security guard on his head.

The slam was so hard that it's a miracle that the security guard didn't get his neck broken or wasn't paralysised by the impact to his head.

This appears not to be an accident, but more so an intent to really hurt the other man in this conflict.

That's the disappointing part here. Campbell had so much to look forward to. Yet, how could apparently he be involved in a such an ugly incident?

Obviously, a court of law will determine the outcome. You don't have to be a lawyer to know it doesn't look good for this once going-places youth.

It's not a he-said, he-said case. There's video for all to see the apparent actions by Campbell.

It's a good bet that if it were a regular student, with average grades and without an athletic scholarship in his back pocket from a big school, it would be an open-and-shut case.

To his credit, Campbell's lawyer said on Monday at the arraignment his client is "extremely remorseful for whatever took place" and added that he's ready to move on.

What's so scary is apparently Campbell didn't think about the ramifications of his actions, think about his bright future.

Instead, simply turned to violence in a spot that could have easily been avoided had he simply complied with instructions from the authority figure.

That should scare the football program at Michigan State.

Along with athletic ability, a school has to look at how a recruit also works well with others, can listen to authority and whether or not that person has anger issues.

On all those accounts, in this case, the answer is no on Campbell.

Michigan State hasn't said anything about the case because it can't by NCAA rule. A school can't comment on recruits who haven't actually signed a national letter of intent yet. Verbal commitments are not binding.

In November, Campbell was in hot water and didn't learn from that incident. He was already suspended for the upcoming 2014 season opener for punching an opposing player in the handshake line after a 28-0 loss.

While that incident wasn't a good thing, it wasn't as serious as this.

This might wind up being another young black kid in prison for violence. The crazy part is that this kid wasn't on the streets, but in school.

This kid was enrolled and excelling at the best high school in Detroit. Worse, he was headed to college on a full ride.

Now, Campbell might not have a chance to compile statistics for the Spartans, but instead just be a statistic.

Yes, a sad story.

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