Peach County’s Robinson deserves room to decide

dshirley@macon.comJanuary 10, 2013 

Peach County standout Demarcus Robinson caught a lot of heat the past few weeks for his decisions in recruiting.

First, Robinson committed to Clemson last summer before flipping to commit to Florida last month. That commitment lasted about a day, as Robinson switched quickly back to Clemson before going back and forth on both programs. He eventually enrolled at Florida this week and will be a terrific player for Will Muschamp and the Gators.

It certainly wasn’t an ideal way to handle the situation, and it’s probably something Robinson will look back on with some regret as he grows and matures through his career and life. It was cringe-worthy and something that will cast a shadow over Robinson … until he lines up with the Gators in the fall and starts making plays.

But Robinson isn’t the one who comes out looking the worst in all of this. He’s a teenager making a huge decision in his life, probably one of the top five he will make moving forward.

No matter what some people think or accuse him of, he was not switching back and forth for attention. He had a tough choice to make and genuinely was torn about that and waffled back and forth a couple of times.

That’s actually understandable. Think about making that kind of decision at that age. Yes, it happens every year with thousands of athletes across the country, and many times there isn’t this kind of drama. But maybe that’s the real surprise, that there aren’t these issues for all of these young men and women.

The real surprise is how “grownups” reacted to Robinson’s decision.

Robinson certainly could have handled things better, but the reaction to him was deplorable. It makes those people who reacted that way look worse than Robinson, and it’s not even close.

He was criticized by people for switching back and forth, including people who don’t know him and won’t ever know him, and that’s simply ridiculous. But that’s nothing new, and Robinson isn’t the first athlete to be torn apart for switching from one school to another.

Fans overreact to athletes committing or not committing to their favorite team and are overly invested in these kinds of decisions. But that says more about the fans than it does the athletes. If you get that emotionally involved with a teenager picking your team, you need to look in the mirror and address your own issues.

If you get on social media or some chat board and criticize an athlete, that’s taking things to a totally different level and reveals some deep problems in your own life. Just because an athlete chooses another school and not your favorite school, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with his or her character or their parents or their coaches.

There isn’t some deep, dark conspiracy against your team or keeping players away from your school and sending them to another one. If you believe that … again, you need to think about what’s going on in your own life and what makes you believe those kinds of things.

All of those things were brought up during the Robinson situation by “grownups,” and it was silly and sickening all at the same time. The best part for Robinson is he can move on and get ready for the next phase in his life and move past this situation.

For the “grownups” who were criticizing him, they likely won’t be able to do the same. Their lives are so sad that they will just move on to the next teenager to attack.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or

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