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Mid-day talker: The Badgers' Montee Ball -- bad judgment or bad luck?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Gophers Updated: August 7, 2012 - 12:30 PM

Montee Ball, the running back for Wisconsin with Heisman hopes and pro aspirations, has had a rocky offseason. He was cited for trespassing at a party in May. He was at a party where a fight broke out in late July. And then a few days later, he was attacked -- perhaps in retaliation -- after leaving a campus bar at 2:15 a.m. on a weeknight, an act of violence that left him with a concussion and unable to participate so far in fall drills.

Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal wrote today about the subject of Ball, asking basically if he's the victim of bad luck or poor choices.

If all of this is a sign of things to come in Montee Ball’s pursuit of the Heisman Trophy, then shut down the hype machine and shutter the campaign headquarters right now. ... If all of this is a karmic heads-up on how the season is going to play out for Ball, then he won’t return to New York City as a top Heisman vote-getter, he won’t have the same incredible impact he had on the Badgers last year when he rushed for 1,923 yards and tied an NCAA record with 39 touchdowns, nor will he upgrade his NFL draft stock as he intended.

Since the end of spring practice in late April, Ball has been in the wrong place at the wrong time on three occasions, leaving us to choose between a couple of basic narratives about the engaging, likable 21-year-old.

Either his luck stinks like a leaky Honey Wagon or his judgment has a large blind spot.

It's not an easy question. He's a college kid of legal drinking age, and many of the things he has gotten in trouble for are fairly typical college problems in fairly typical college situations. Should his standards and actions be different because of his profile? That is a larger question about athletes in society in general. For now, the question is more narrow. Do you think Ball is creating his own bad luck or not?


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