By Alexis Garrett Stodghill
“Marc is DEFINITELY not getting paid,” the father of suspended USC athlete Marc Tyler recently told TMZ. “I don’t know what he was thinking when he said it.”
But it’s too late to take back those words, and the damage is done: The USC running back has been suspended because he publicly joked about being payed for playing football by the school.
The USC senior was suspended after saying into a TMZ camera: “USC … they breakin’ bread!” — or pay ballers, a taboo practice banned in college sports.
Following the university’s decision, head coach Lane Kiffin released a statement:
I was very disappointed when I learned of Marc Tyler’s inappropriate comments that were captured by the media last week. That is not the way that we expect our players to represent USC and our team.
I have consulted with athletic director Pat Haden and I am suspending Marc for our upcoming season opener and potentially further, and in the meantime I am also suspending him from all team activities.
Although Marc may find this punishment severe, it is imperative we continue to have a high standard for player behavior. Marc needs to work hard to show us that he can meet the standards of being a USC football player.
Marc has since offered sincere apologies. But that might not be enough in the wake of the recent scandal involving NFL star Reggie Bush.
Bush had his Heisman Trophy stripped from him last year when found guilty of numerous NCAA violations. While playing for USC, Bush received cash, gifts and other benefits according to the governing body. AOL News reports that as a result of findings against Bush and other students, “the NCAA hit USC’s football program with a two-year postseason ban, reduced scholarships for football and men’s basketball and put the school on probation through June 2014.”
Bush was the first player to be stripped of this prestigious trophy in the Heisman Trust’s 75-year history. The shame associated with this scandal must still be felt sharply in the football locker rooms of USC. It seems obvious that given such a difficult context, joking about getting paid to the number one gossip site in the world is the last thing a USC football player should do.
Even if Tyler is not getting paid, college sports are still a billion dollar industry, and are definitely run that way. Marc Tyler, who was filmed outside a club at the time of these statements, might want to learn to tone down the jocular chatting — if he wants to keep his (unpaid) job. No boss puts up with that type of lip.