Posted by: marcmwm | September 5, 2008

Dominique Douglas, sad and infuriating

On one hand, it is a sad story. It’s a story about lost opportunity and a talented football player throwing it all away.

On the other hand, it’s a story of stupidity. It’s a story about a Detroit kid who had one foot in college AND football and the other in the thug life.

Here’s what The Gazette had on Douglas in Friday’s paper:

Ex-Hawkeye Douglas faces new charge
IOWA CITY — Former Iowa wide receiver Dominique Douglas’ probation could be revoked as he faces a new robbery charge.
Douglas, 20, of Detroit, was arrested Aug. 1 in Michigan and remains in the Wayne County Jail on charges of armed robbery, motor vehicle fraud and carrying a concealed weapon, according to a preliminary probation violation complaint filed Aug. 29 in Johnson County District Court. Police say he and another man robbed someone of jewelry, sunglasses, keys and $2,000 July 28.
Douglas was sentenced to two years of probation here after pleading guilty last year to credit card fraud.
 
Here’s an excerpt from a story I wrote in 2006 when Douglas was becoming one of the nation’s top freshman wideouts:

“He doesn’t have outstanding anything,” Murray-Wright athletics director
Robert Glenn said. “He’s not what you would call an athlete. He’s a football
player, and he’s a good one.”

Back in Detroit, the folks are not surprised. They say we haven’t seen anything yet.

“Trust me,” Glenn said. “I know you’ve seen him do some good things. You
haven’t seen anything yet. Trust me. Trust me.

“I’ve been doing this 35 years, and he’s probably the best receiver I’ve
seen in Detroit, by far.”

Yes, Glenn is biased. The Murray-Wright community is tightknit. Glenn is an alumnus. The M-W football coaching staff comprises alumni.

The school is in the “middle of the central city,” Glenn said. It doesn’t draw from a single neighborhood but from all over Detriot. Schools that draw from the city are test-taking schools with certain grade-point average requirements. You just go to M-W, Glenn said.

Douglas’ mom, Kathy Bowie, still goes to all of Murray-Wright’s games, Glenn said.

“At Murray-Wright, we’re all from Detroit, and most of us are from the ghetto,” Glenn said. “We know what it takes in order to be successful. Dominique is one of the people who actually listened and used us as a good example.”

Detroit is a million miles from Iowa City as far as the speed of life goes. But, Glenn believes, that might fit Douglas’ personality.

Glenn described Douglas as a “quiet, gentle person.”

“He doesn’t even have the temperament of what you’d say the average football
player has,” Glenn said. “He stays within himself most of the time.”

______________________________________________________

Sad and infuriating.

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Responses

  1. Marc, I lived most of my adult life in Chicago and Detroit before returning to Iowa a year ago, and you can not explain how bad life is in Detroit to someone raised in Iowa. You can look at the worst problems we had with football players in 07, then look where they were from: at least 3 from Detroit. These kids are products of their environment. I know it sounds cynical, and there are always exceptions, but the odds are these kids are not going to change their values. They need an extensive education in Civilization before we worry about a scholarship for a degree in Sports Management, and they just don’t gain that base in a place like Detroit with drugs on every corner.

    This is why I am very excited about the ’09 commits that we have received thus far; I don’t expect credit card theft, substance possession, and alleged rape from these ’09 kids. Coach noted in a recent interview that we recognize fewer serious problems with Iowa kids, but there aren’t enough available to meet our needs. As a fan, I’m much more interested in rewarding moral kids with opportunity and developing their skills than promoting diversity. The Detroit kids will be fine, because providence has provided MSU for them (wait ’til the Barrents kid from WDM gets a load of his teammates, Ha!). But I strongly disagree with Iowa recruiting in Detroit, especially for no better reason than they expressed interest in playing for a Big 10 school, and no one else would take them.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, Pete. I have a couple friends who live in the Detroit suburbs. And even those don’t sound like a picnic.

    I’m all for giving kids a chance, but if I’m a coach and my reputation is on the line, my vetting process includes a private detective and a lawyer. But it’s easy for us now, in retrospect, to wonder why and how the Detroit crew found its way here. I’ve heard since his departure, that Douglas had run ins that didn’t work their way up to the police blotter before the credit cards.

    I distinctly remember his last words as representing Iowa. He had bad grades the first semester, when he put up the best numbers among freshmen receivers in the country, and was kept out of spring. He worked his way back and seemed good to go in the fall. He talked to me about working hard and making his way back. How he learned his lesson. How this was never going to happen again.

    That was about 2 p.m. on the open practice day last August. About 14 hours later, he was arrested. Ferentz found out while Douglas was talking to the media.

    He said all the right things. He did all the wrong things.

    Thanks again for the insight, Pete. There might be a touch of cynicism to what you say, but I also think there’s just as much realism.


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