Sam Hurd's Sentencing: A Cautionary Tale and A Talent Wasted

Sam Hurd was raised in a tough section of San Antonio.  He is presently 29 years old and facing a life sentence when he comes before a judge this month.  While awaiting his sentence he was busy doing community work in Texas and doing his 'Father's' work.  I would assume that this would mean the work of the Lord.  It is a common refrain when we get in trouble and have to atone for what otherwise could have been a more well ordered life.

Sam Hurd was an exceptional athlete who had a solid career at Northern Illinois University.  In spite of solid numbers, he went undrafted in the 2006 draft.  That year, Mario Williams and Reggie Bush went 1 - 2 in the draft.  Reggie Bush faced his own form of scrutiny for taking funds from a booster.  His records from a stellar career at USC were erased and he had to return the Heisman trophy that he won in 2005.  He was sued by a sports agent who claimed to have given Bush and his family almost $300,000.00 in undisclosed payments.  The lure of fast money and fame sometimes makes many athletes lose the focus on the abundant physical gifts that they have.

Sam Hurd was signed by the Dallas Cowboys after not being drafted. He became a special teams player and he got an opportunity to play when Terry Glenn was released in 2008 by the Cowboys.  I respected Terry Glenn for his solid play while with the Jets and Patriots.  I really didn't notice the play of Sam Hurd while he was with the Cowboys.  I am just noticing that the plateau that is reached by the very few who have the talent to become professional sports players is no guarantee of success.

Sam Hurd proposed to his high school sweetheart while waiting to be drafted.  He lived in a gated community while pursuing his dream.  He has a daughter who will grow into a beautiful woman while he will be incarcerated.  I remember growing up wishing I lived in a better looking house.  I wanted a car that would attract some attention from members of the opposite sex.  I made my share of mistakes while pursuing those goals.  I am working as part of a South Philadelphia Coalition now that considers marijuana a gateway drug.  The potency of the weed that Sam claims he smoked everyday would be out of reach for many people in low income neighborhoods.  He also claimed that many Dallas Cowboys smoked the same strong substance but he did not name anyone.  I think that not naming team mates was admirable.  He got into trouble trying to become a drug kingpin.  Do the crime and be prepared to do the time!!

Sam was arrested in December 2011 after purchasing a kilogram of cocaine from suspected cartel members.  His whole conversation was being recorded by FBI agents seated next to him in a Morton's steakhouse.  He had been looking for large quantities of the drug to be sold in Chicago.  Maybe he hadn't noticed the carnage taking place in Chicago and the need for people in those communities to have some form of social relief from the scourge of guns and drugs.  Maybe the bright lights and lure of the fortune just made him unaware of the consequences of drug addiction and the many lives lost to this problem.  Also, his upbringing
might not have prepared him for the success he was apparently living in at the time he was arrested.  Signing a $4.5 million contract with a $1.5 million bonus should have been a sign that his hard work on the football field paid off.  Where did the motivation to sell drugs overtake his reasoning process?

I know of some similar stories here in Philadelphia.  There are some members of the Junior Black Mafia still in jail because of the lure of drugs and the pressure to achieve material success in our culture.  There are also a number of people that are not here anymore who did not heed the 'get down or lay down' edict from the group.  I am so proud of any of my friends/family who have children excelling in athletics.  The fame and fortune for some players is real.  Kobe Bryant just received a $24 million payment as part of his contract.  I saw him play at Lower Merion when he was in high school.   Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are playing on one year scholarships and Kansas and Duke respectively.  Fame and fortune awaits.  I think their families and friends should heed the stories of athletes like Sam Hurd and steer them clear of the lure of the fast life.  It doesn't pay and is not worth it.

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