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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Microscope

 
 

ATexas A&M student knows the Northgate District of College Station for many things. The nearly four block area spanning from Chimy’s to The Corner and beyond can be home to a student’s best and worst memories, while others choose to never visit.
In the early morning hours on Friday, Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill was like your classmates and friends. Enjoying a night on Northgate.
Hill’s night ended around 2:57 a.m., according to police reports, which said that he was found by police officers passed out in a “planter full of rocks and plants in front of the restaurant-bar.”
Hill then incorrectly answered that the current president of the United States was “Bush” and falsely identified himself as “Kennedy.” By the end of the night he had been booked for public intoxication, according to the police department’s website.
At that moment, Hill was no longer a student among students at Texas A&M. He instantly became the hopeful starting quarterback of the Aggie football team underneath the microscope of Aggie fandom.
In line with two other candidates, Hill is hoping to fill the shoes of former A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel when A&M kicks off the 2014 season in August against South Carolina. Instead of having his quarterback skills and development analyzed, Hill has started receiving comparisons to Manziel off the field.
Manziel was arrested the June before his breakout 2012 season after an altercation on Northgate. Friday, as news surfaced of Hill’s arrest, Aggie fans began the jokes and comparisons of the two arrests.
Maybe the Heisman Trophy success in Aggieland begins in handcuffs.
But comparisons of Hill and Manziel are entirely unfair. The two young men are completely different people. While both made mistakes, Hill has the chance, like any Aggie, to show his character and integrity by learning from his mistake.
Jabs at Hill from current or former students are perhaps the most frustrating part of the incident.
Should Hill, at the age of 19, have been consuming alcohol illegally? No.
Should Hill have been more in control of himself on Northgate? Yes.
But every person reading this story knows at least one person who has been in Hill’s position before. Where were Hill’s friends that night?
To persecute Hill for doing something that Texas A&M students, and college students across the nation, engage in routinely is a crime in itself. If you haven’t seen the Arizona and Wisconsin University riots from this weekend, I suggest you Google them immediately.
Hill acted on extremely poor judgment, but if we can laugh at the TAMUMakeOuts Twitter account each weekend, how can we judge our potential starting quarterback for doing something that we are so okay with otherwise?
The fishbowl that is College Station doesn’t allow for a student-athlete to simply get away with the things that other students do in their free time. We sympathize with other student-athletes who cannot simply buy a coffee without being bothered for an autograph in this town but should he, or she, step out for a night it’s accusations aplenty?
The other side of this argument is that the football student-athletes have millions of dollars invested in their success, people’s jobs riding on their play, and yet they find themselves arrested on public intoxication and possession charges among other things.
Like any other college student who has made a mistake, Hill will get a host of lectures from his elders. But outside of the wrath from his parents (Hill’s father, Ken, is a former Major League Baseball player) he will also receive verbal whippings from the athletics department, head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff, Texas A&M fans and, unfortunately, his classmates as well.
But as Hill is suspended indefinitely, per athletics department protocol, he has the chance to either have this particular incident define him or defy him. No one will feel bad for him, as it should be, but Manziel was able to leave his arrest behind him and is now known more for defeating Alabama on the road than for falsely identifying himself.
Hill has the chance to use this experience as a stepping-stone in his life, something he will learn from, as both an athlete and as a student who is in college establishing who he is just like the rest of us. But first we have to give him the chance.

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