Take lessons from Higbee situation

John Reecer is the sports editor of the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

John Reecer

I’m not sure about you, but I was very disappointed when I first heard the unfortunate news surrounding former WKU tight end Tyler Higbee.

As more and more details came out this week about his alleged assault of Nawaf Alsaleh, I grew only more dejected.

Through my past experience interviewing Higbee, I had formed the opinion that he was a good guy.

During my time reporting for the Herald, he actually gave me my favorite interview of any athlete I’ve reported on.

In a profile I wrote last fall, he showcased a vibrant personality with a very good sense of humor. He was the type of guy who walks into a room and instantly has everyone’s attention.

However, what I appreciated most was his honesty when he admitted he had not worked as hard as he could have when he was playing behind greats like Jack Doyle and Mitchell Henry.

Higbee had the world at his fingertips as he was definitely going to be a second-round to fourth-round draft pick in the NFL Draft, which is just a couple of weeks away.

Then this past weekend happened.

So many times in sports, unfortunate circumstances occur concerning athletes off the field and we, as fans, only worry about how it impacts them on the field or on the court.

First things need to come first. Alsaleh is now in very serious condition and remains hospitalized. This man needs people’s thoughts and prayers, and so does Higbee; his life changed too on Saturday night.

How this incident affects a potential NFL player’s draft stock is literally the last thing we as human beings need to have on our minds.

While this is an all-around horrible situation, good can still come out of what happened. Every athlete at WKU should use this as a lesson.

Nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Period.

If you don’t believe that old saying, ask famous athletes such as Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, Vince Young, Ty Lawson and hundreds of others whose actions off the field stunted their careers.

It is easy for people to be in the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes, and athletes are under a much more focused microscope than the average person is.

As an athlete, don’t put yourself in a situation like the one Higbee was in. Many things are out of our control in life, but there is still much we can control.

For example, you can control whether or not you are drunk outside a bar at 2 a.m. or are safe and sound asleep in your bed.

Now, I’m not saying that as an athlete you are never allowed to have a good time. But as someone who is under the public eye — whether you like it or not — you need to be putting yourself in the right place at the right time constantly.

I fully realize I might come off as preachy in this column, but as this situation comes not too long after three basketball players and a head basketball coach left the university under unpleasant circumstances, I feel like all of this needs to be said.

At the end of the day, we all make mistakes in life.

I only hope this unfortunate mistake can be learned from and that more athletes at this university will discover how to enjoy their time in college without being the unfortunate subject of a sportswriter’s newspaper column.