If it were allowed, Daniel Hood's Tennessee football jersey number should come with an asterisk for "extenuating circumstances" to put it politely.
Whatever the career of Hood has at UT, and beyond, part of the story of Daniel Hood will always be his participation in the kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old cousin while he was but 13.
The reaction across the Internet on Wednesday to the news that UT had signed the Catholic High School star to play football didn't completely break along school fan lines. Many UT ardent fans are troubled with this one, while others strap on the Big Orange sunglasses and say this is a wondrous thing. Even a few Vol and Lane Kiffin haters, however, say maybe this is the right call for this young man.
Here's Dennis Dodd at CBSSports.com: "It's hard to find a soft place to land on this issue. Almost every other school ignored Hood because of his past. Tennessee took a chance, perhaps because it is Tennessee. Lane Kiffin's stated goal is to make the UT brand visible to everyone. This ought to do it. Hood guarantees that one one point, Tennessee will be seen on ESPN, CNN, The 700 Club and The O'Reilly Factor. Maybe in the same day."
And Clay Travis at the NCAA Football Fanhouse: "Daniel Hood will run through the T this fall only because he was such a young juvenile when he committed this crime that he didn't go to prison. Otherwise instead of wearing orange and white next fall, Hood would be wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. There's something really wrong with that. And I think it ultimately says more about us, than it does about Daniel Hood."
Spencer Hall at SportingNews, who describes himself as a Kiffin hater, wrote: "Lane Kiffin is doing the correct thing in one sense: if you're going to bring a player with a questionable past into the program, take every step you can to be completely transparent about it. Rather than fudge away at the details and demur, Kiffin is staking the very legitimacy of his program on his ability to judge the character of players as he sees them. When you go all-in, they make you turn your cards face-up for a reason. Lane Kiffin seems happy to do that, and for that he should be commended -- just as he'll take the loss if Hood snaps even once on the short leash Tennessee if offering him."
At the 3rd Saturday in Blogtober blog: "Basically, I believe the kid deserves a second chance, and I think he’s done more than enough to prove himself rehabilitated. Some may want to say, “So what, that doesn’t mean he should get a chance with Tennessee.” Why not? He’s a local kid, and he has spent six years living with what he has done. He spent his time in juvy, and he came out of it on the other side a better person. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, and he has tried to move forward. He has adjusted well, is an honor student, and has shown maturity throughout this whole process."
If Hood has a heroine in this media morality tale, it's his victim. Many are swayed by the support the rape victim is giving Hood's desire to play at Tennessee. There's a "If it's OK with her, it's OK with me" line of logic to let the kid play.
That seems to be an easier ethical elephant to swallow than the theme of "he deserves a second chance," especially when the second chance just happens to come at one of college football's elite programs and he happens to be a very good football player.
But another theme you're likely to read, "forgive and forget," is not likely to happen. Google never forgets. A decade or more from now, type "Daniel Hood" in a search engine and you're likely to be right back here.
Below is a sampling of what both bloggers and mainstream media are saying. If you see a great post I've missed, email me at email@example.com
- Should UT have signed Hood? | A Mountain View by Greg Johnson
- Nashville - Nashville Scene - Pith in the Wind - In Defense of Lane Kiffin Signing Daniel Hood
- National Fall-Out To Tennessee Signing Hood | MrSEC.com
- Orlando Sentinel - Lane Kiffin signed a convicted rapist. Did he make the right decision?
- KNOX ANIMAL: one day at a time: Does Hood Deserve Another Chance?
- Orlando Sentinel - Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin scrutinized for signing convicted rapist
- VolQuest.com - Hood moves forward on second chance
- Vols catch grief over football scholarship to Kingsport native convicted of rape as juvenile - Kingsport Times-News Online
- Tennessee signee had role in sexual assault - CBSSports.com
- SportingNews.com - The Sporting Blog | Tennessee Signs a Recruit Who Helped Rape Someone. This May Not Be a Bad Thing.
- WBIR.com | Victim supports football player convicted in crime
- PAVE Voices: Tennessee Signs Young Man with a Past
- Daniel Hood: My take | 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- Should Lane Kiffin recruit convicted rapists? : Fanblogs College Football Blog
- Daniel Hood: Roundup | 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- JSHett Official Sports Blog | Exit Poll
- Tennessee Volunteers offer Daniel Hood another chance - ESPN
- Football news from a chick!22: Is Lane Kiffin totally NUTS?
- UT Football Scholarship Despite Troubled Past Repeal Adam Walsh Act Laws ! ConstitutionalFights.org
- Chattanooga Times Free Press | Tennessee: Vols sign football player who played role in rape
- Sprints // 05.06.09 - Team Speed Kills
- Thug U? Loser with Socks
- More On Hood's Signing With Tennessee | MrSEC.com
- Deadspin - Should Lane Kiffin Be Recruiting Convicted Rapists? - Tennessee recruits rapist
- A heartwarming story? Or one that makes you want to puke? - SEC Chatter - al.com
- CollegeFootballTalk.com - Hood Victim: 'He Has Been Very Remorseful Towards Me'
- Where's the Line on Second Chances? --NCAA Football FanHouse
- Daniel Hood Is The Newest Vol | 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- Talking points: the Daniel Hood matter - Rocky Top Talk
- Should News Sentinel have published Daniel Hood story? | The Upfront Page
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