After a week of Aqib Talib-bashing and pretty much everyone telling the Bucs that they should cut him, it was about time for the contrary piece to come out and paint him as a sympathetic character. To that end, Rick Stroud does a good job, pinning much of the reason Aqib is the way he is on his mom.
He was only 10 years old when his mother spent eight months in prison.
According to Cleveland police reports, Donna Henry was arrested for attempted felony assault on May 6, 1996, when she stabbed at a neighbor on Wheelock Avenue in Cleveland.
Virginia Flowers came to Henry’s house in an attempt to recover the $50 she had loaned her. They were described as friends, and Henry had helped Flowers move into a house down the street.
When Henry didn’t pay her back, Flowers threw a brick through her car window, the police report said. That’s when Henry stabbed Flowers in the left upper chest with a steak knife. Flowers was hospitalized and treated for a chest wound.
So if getting violent is how your mom deals with problems, chances are pretty good that’s how you’ll deal with them, too. You can definitely see where he gets it. And it’s not that I don’t feel for the guy or have some understanding of what’s going on. I do. But strictly from a Buccaneer standpoint, they have to consider Talib a liability or, at the very least, unreliable. This isn’t his first or second or even his third incident. I hope he gets help or therapy or whatever it is he needs and learns to live in society without punching or shooting at people. But as a Bucs fan, I don’t need that kind of shit hanging over their heads.
There are a couple other interesting bits in the article as well.
“He tries to do that whole street thing, but don’t let that fool you,” said former University of Kansas co-defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. “He’s very smart. I don’t think he ever went to a single class, but he still got a 2.7 (GPA) at Kansas.”
Isn’t someone responsible for making sure the scholarshipped football players show up to class?
But just before his high school graduation in April 2004, Talib broke into a home several doors from where Ledford, his coach, lived and was arrested and charged with burglary. He eventually received two years’ probation.
Here’s an incident that has nothing to do with spur-of-the-moment anger or violence. It’s just regular old B&E and burglary. It was a high school thing so you can write it off as a youthful indiscretion, but it’s still one more thing to add to the list.
What makes Talib’s story different than the typical cautionary tale of a pro athlete gone bad is that so many people see a lot of great qualities in him.
He and his brother held a free football camp at Berkner High recently for about 200 kids. He isn’t one to spend lavishly on jewelry or cars. Ledford said Talib helped buy homes for his mother and sister. His father retired from his job stocking shelves at a Kmart distribution center and lives with him in Tampa.
These are all nice things, but the free football camp is really the only one worthy of praise. We’re supposed to congratulate a guy for not pissing his money away now? And buying mama a house is the first thing every first-round pick says they’re going to do with their money. I’m glad this story came out and hopefully some background to Talib’s past will make people not so quick to write him off as a bad guy, myself included. But it doesn’t change my position on his employment with the Bucs.