Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Marcus Dupree - Cam Newton Continues on the Downward Spiral
The Best That Never Was.
Marcus Dupree! If you get a chance you definately need to watch this. Just as good as the Len Bias episode. Excellent!
It is a phrase that conjures up missed opportunity, even sadness, but Marcus Dupree is at peace with the title of his documentary: The Best That Never Was.
"There ain't no doubt that it's a good title for my story," said Dupree, arguably the greatest high school running back and the subject of a superb ESPN 30 For 30 documentary airing Tuesday night at 8 pm ET. "Everybody you talk to before or even now said I could have been the best."
Emerging out of Philadelphia, Miss., a city bathed in infamy two decades earlier after the brutal slaying of three civil rights workers, Dupree rushed for 5,283 yards and broke Herschel Walker's high school record for touchdowns (87). As a senior in 1981, he was the subject of an epic recruiting battle before he signed with Oklahoma, then coached by Barry Switzer. After initially being relegated to the bench, Dupree exploded onto the national scene, finishing his freshman year with 13 touchdowns and a 7.8 yard per carry average. His Fiesta Bowl record of 239 yards on 17 carries still stands.
With Heisman Trophy anticipation in the air, Dupree was featured on the June 20, 1983 cover of Sports Illustrated, but continuing conflicts with the Oklahoma coaching staff prompted him to quit the team midway through his sophomore year. In March '84 he signed a five-year, $6 million contract with the USFL's New Orleans Breakers and had a respectable, though not spectacular, first season. The next year he injured his left knee, ending his USFL career. Out of football for five years, Dupree rehabbed his knee back in Philadelphia and ended up making the Los Angeles Rams as a journeyman running back. He retired after two seasons, and then faded from the national scene and into the workaday world.
Documentary filmmaker Jonathan Hock, who at 46 is the same age as Dupree, had long been interested in Dupree's story after reading The Courting of Marcus Dupree, a look at sports and race in the South via the recruiting of Dupree by the late Mississippi novelist, Willie Morris. An eight-time Emmy Award winner and the writer and director of the critically-acclaimed documentary The Lost Son of Havana, Hock knew he wanted to tell Dupree's story when ESPN approached him in 2008 to be part of its documentary series.
Finding Dupree was not easy, though. Hock spent a couple of months searching for him to little avail. Finally, he hired a private investigator who found court records on Dupree's ex-wife that led to a church in Tallahassee. The filmmaker left his name and number at the church and the next morning he got a phone call: "Is this Jon Hock? This is Marcus Dupree." At the time Hock was on train back from Boston after a meeting with the Farrelly Brothers on Havana, which follows baseball great Luis Tiant on his first trip to Cuba in 40 years. "I said, 'Marcus you don't know how happy I am to hear your voice,'" Hock said. "He said, 'Hey, I'm happy to hear your voice, too.'"
Dupree had been driving a truck out of Tallahassee, one of a number of careers he'd held since retiring from football including casino greeter, B-level pro wrestler, CFL and NFL scout, and his current job working in Pascagoula, Miss. as part of the cleanup on the BP oil spill.
"I didn't know what to expect," Dupree said upon meeting Hock in early 2009 to discuss the project. "I hadn't talked about stuff in a long time but I thought it was a way to tell my story and finally get the truth out."
Hock traveled to Mississippi in March 2009, Sept. 2009 and last summer for filming. Among those in Philadelphia he interviewed was Cecil Price Jr., a high school teammate of Dupree's who reflects for the first time on film about his father, the late Cecil R. Price, who as a deputy sheriff arrested the civil rights workers in 1964 and was eventually found guilty of delivering them into the hands of their killers.
As word traveled around Philadelphia that a filmmaker was doing a story on Dupree, Hock was eventually able to track down 16 millimeter black and white footage of Dupree playing at Philadelphia High. "This was our Holy Grail, because if you don't have the footage, you are just sort of going on everybody's word how good he was," Hock said. "When we saw the film and it was like: 'Son of a bitch, he was that good.' I was like, 'Boys, we have our ourselves a movie.'"
One of the film's memorable interview subjects is Switzer, who called his handling of Dupree his greatest coaching regret. "The only thing that hurts so bad was the stuff that Coach Switzer said in the film about how he didn't want the upperclassman to get jealous of me," Dupree said. "All he had to do was pull me into his office and tell me that. It kind of hurts that I might have missed three Heisman Trophy's and a national championship because of a lack of communication."
Dupree has three sons -- Marquez, 28, Landon, 25, and Rashad, 18 -- and says he tries to go back to Philadelphia once a month to see his six-year-old grandson's Little League games. Neither Dupree's children nor his ex-wife, Katrina Rush, chose to participate in the film, and Hock focuses little on Dupree's personal life after his football career ended. "I made the decision that this film couldn't be a comprehensive, in-depth story of Marcus's history," Hock said. "Rather, it had to be the story of his football life and its impact on the very special town that he comes from. The kind of dad or husband that he is or was is definitely part of his history, but ultimately I had to decide that it wasn't a core part of his story as a football player or his town's racial history."
Dupree harbors no regrets about what could have been and seems mostly content with his life's journey. "My life could be a little better, I mean, it wouldn't hurt to have $10 million in the bank," Dupree said. "I saw a lot at a young age and I'm glad this is happening now. This film is something my Mom (who died in 2004) wanted and I do think God has blessed me."
"I think it's complicated to be Marcus Dupree," Hock said. "He was not in hiding but I'm not sure how comfortable it is to be an honest, hardworking guy making a living when so many people you meet hear your name and expect you to be something else. The idea of truly great promise unfulfilled is very sad, but Marcus is not a sad person and that makes this story hopeful in the end. After the doctors told him he would never be able to play football again, for him to turn his life and body around and to end up making the NFL, that's a redemptive tale."
Sooner or later he is going to go down. This is a shame, but the powers that be will not let this down. Especially after the Reggie Bush episode. Either way he is the best player in college football!
Sources: Newtons talked of pay plan
Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.
Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.
Prior to Newton's commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take "more than a scholarship" to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person that would provide more specifics, the source said.
After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn't be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much."
The NCAA is investigating allegations surrounding the Newtons in regards to the recruiting process. Cam Newton, who is having a Heisman-caliber season for No. 2 Auburn, declined comment.
Cecil Newton, who previously has denied any wrongdoing, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment Tuesday night.
However, when reached late Tuesday night by phone by FoxSports.com, Cecil Newton said he had no comment.
"I'm not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place," Cecil Newton said.
He also said he knew nothing about the report when asked if he'd seen it.
"I've answered what I need to answer," Cecil Newton told FoxSports.com. "If they're out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you've got to say."
Cecil Newton also described all of the allegations about his son as "a witch hunt," according to FoxSports.com.
"They can continue doing whatever they're doing, sir," Cecil Newton told the website. "I'm just in support of my son."
Auburn did not respond to a request for comment. The school has repeatedly said it looked into Newton's recruitment and that he remains eligible.
Earlier Tuesday, Auburn found itself defending Newton in the wake of allegations of academic cheating when he was at Florida. The Tigers' coach, Gene Chizik, dismissed a FoxSports.com report as "pure garbage" in an emotional 4-minute, 25-second rant.
"I'm standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that's garbage," Chizik said. Auburn faces Georgia on Saturday.
FoxSports.com reported Monday that Newton was caught cheating three times and was to appear for a hearing in front of Florida's Student Committee facing possible expulsion during the spring semester of 2009.
A person with knowledge of Newton's situation confirmed Newton left Florida after the fall 2008 semester rather than face suspension or expulsion, in part due to the alllegations of academic wrongdoing, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Newton's father said he could not confirm or deny the report, citing a gag order from his attorney, The Times reported. "I don't know what's in his personal file, but if someone is bold enough to post something like that, there will be consequences," he said.
Newton transferred to Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas, where he played last season. He declined to discuss the latest report, which came on the heels of former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond telling ESPN.com that someone claiming to represent the Newton family sought money during his recruitment by the school.
Sources told ESPN.com the man who said he was representing the Newtons was Kenny Rogers, who played in the 1980s for Mississippi State alongside Bond.
"I'm not going to entertain something that took place not three months, not six months, not a year but two years ago," Cam Newton said. "I'm not going to sit up here and say anything about it, whether I did or did not do it, because I don't want to beat a dead horse talking about it. It's not going to affect me any way, shape or fashion."
In Gainesville, Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a statement that neither he nor anyone on his staff leaked information on Newton's academic record, calling it a "ridiculous claim."
"For anyone to think that I or anyone on our staff may have leaked information about private student records to the media doesn't know us very well," Meyer said. "It's a ridiculous claim and simply not true."
Cam Newton said Meyer was a man of integrity.
"I would hope he wouldn't say anything like that," he said.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who also recruited Newton out of Blinn, said he saw "nothing at all" out of the ordinary during that process.
"Our recruitment of Cameron could not have been better, or was just fine," Stoops said. "I didn't notice anything and none of our coaches did as we were recruiting him."
Posted by just BS at 5:39 AM