Applaud Jim Tressel for Following his Heart

By: Je’Rod Cherry

During German Nazi rule a Christian man by the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to make a literal life or death decision. The choices presented to Bonhoeffer were the following: Do I go along with state law and watch quietly as my Jewish countrymen are persecuted, or do I violate state law by assisting them?

Bonhoeffer, being led by his heart, violated Nazi state law and opted to aid, harbor, and hide his Jewish Countrymen. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s actions cost him his life.

Although nowhere near as historical as Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s experience, Jim Tressel has been living with his own dilemma.

Tressel’s dilemma: Do I protect my guys or do I report their infractions and uphold NCAA rules?

I am of the opinion that Coach Tressel did the right thing in keeping quiet and not reporting the infractions until there was more clarity regarding the federal drug case pending, in which OSU football players had a connection.

We live in a climate in which people will leak information and violate trust in order to get ahead. I understand Coach Tressel’s decision not to go to the NCAA, Big Ten, and OSU athletic department.

Coach Tressel’s involvement in bureaucratic culture must have led him to realize that none of these organizations could ensure complete confidentiality.

Furthermore, Tressel’s understanding of “street” culture must have influenced his decision making as well. On the “streets,” leaked information identifying players’ connection on any level, be it harmless or co-conspirator, can be perceived as being a “snitch,” and in real life “snitches” get killed even if they play football for OSU.

The longer we live, we find that sometimes things are not black and white. They can be (scarlet and) grey. Following the “rules” can create a paradox, in which we have to determine the greater good or lesser evil.

Over the course of this investigation, Coach Tressel said he made his decision to break NCAA rules because he followed his “heart.” Well I applaud Coach Tressel, because he made the hard decision, by protecting his players and placing his own reputation in harms way.



  1. So you are saying you would cover up a murder to protect the best interest of the murderer? HE BROKE THE RULES! No matter how “unfair” you think the rules are, you cannot break them.

    This article is a complete joke. May God have mercy on your soul.

    • I believe that you completely missed the point of my article, and the reason why I applaud Tressel in the first place. I am not applauding him for protecting his players from infractions of the NCAA rules or any punishment they might have had to face because of that. I am on record stating that the OSU players should not have participated in the Sugar bowl game. What I am applauding him for is the willingness to put his own reputation with the NCAA at stake in order to protect his players from something much bigger than the NCAA. As I mentioned in my article, Tressel must have some understanding of ‘street’ culture and what takes place when you cross someone like this character that his players were dealing with. And since he knew that in today’s technological world it’d be hard to release any information and trust that his players identity would’ve have been protected, he chose to keep quiet. So no, I do not applaud Tressel because he helped his players “get over” on NCAA rules. and OSU won a football game. But rather, because in keeping quiet, he understood that he was protecting their safety and perhaps their very lives again at the risk of his own reputation!! The reason why I referenced Bonoeffer was to illustrate that some times laws have to be ignored in order to protect others, I get your point if you break rules you should pay the penalty thanks for reading my article and taking the time to post a comment.

      • I have no problem with Tressel protecting his players.They should have not put him in that position in the first place.Like a lot of us have done in our lives when you go to college, you have to leave the “Street” behind as far as living your life.Its the “Do Not Snich” mentality that has given crime and drugs a haven in the urban communities.Saying that Tressel did good by keeping the “Street” code may gain him favor with the thugs, but not the rest of us.Also people tend to not want to “Snich” until a loved one is hurt or Killed and the family is pleading for answers.Do you keep the code if a family member of yours is killed?

  2. Congratulations on writing the most ridiculous blog entry in the history of ESPN Cleveland. Jim Tressel is a courageous Nazi defector? Remind me when it became acceptable to equate ignoring NCAA regulations to defying Hitle. Stop drinking the kool aid and grow up.

    • I agree with your comments Matt. Comparing this situation to Nazi Germany could be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read. But this is what I have come to expect from ESPNCleveland’s standards.

  3. I can’t believe some of the reply’s I have read on this page. Let me try to explain something to some of you. Tressle was not hiding a damn thing from the police and Mr Cherry is not refering to hiding any thing from the police. The authorities already knew who these people were so what the hell are you people bringing up snitches for ? What Mr Cherry is talking about is if the feds would have busted these scumbags at the same time Tressle would have took some action against his player’s guess what? The “street” in Tressle was telling him these clowns would have thought it was his players who dropped a dime. Timing is everything on the streets being in the wrong place at the wrong time can make you real dead. Lets get something straight perception is everything on the streets and if they percive you to be a rat start digging cause your dead. Now grow up fool’s and get out of Disneyworld and try to get in the real one…I notice none of you hero’s didn’t critize Goldhammer for bringing up Hitler…speaks volumes..One more thing just so you know I’m a 57 yr old white man that grew up in collinwood so save the race crap. Thanks for the column Mr Cherry very well written

    • I guess you never learned anything about grammar or making a point in a concise, effective way during those 57 years? Perhaps you were on the “street” too much.. What a rambly bunch of horseshit.

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