Maurice Washington found himself in the news again on Tuesday, and his next court date isn’t even until next week.
At a time when he most needed to lay low and stay out of trouble, Washington had the university police called to his dorm room Tuesday morning when the odor of marijuana was reported to emanate from his room. He was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.
In itself, the incident isn’t a huge deal. However, breaking the law (regardless of how you feel about marijuana) when he was already out on bond for a felony charge does not reflect kindly on either his intelligence or his willingness to comply with the rules.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too terribly surprised. Every time he gets in trouble I can’t help but think back to this tweet:
Staying true to oneself is admirable, but failing to recognize and improve on one’s flaws is in itself perhaps the biggest character flaw of all. Washington needs to change, and if he refuses to recognize that fact it’s going to be hard to trust that he’ll stay out of trouble moving forward, even if the court case in California does go his way.
Nebraska has stuck with Washington through a lot since they started recruiting him. They were right there with him as he fought to become eligible and were rewarded when he became a late qualifier and turned into an impact player right out of the gates. Then the felony charges came down, and Scott Frost has continued to stick with Washington, allowing him too remain a full member of the program and even participate in spring football in a limited fashion.
Washington rewarded that faith by breaking the rules and doing so in a way that was very easy for him to get busted. How hard is it to just not smoke until you’re out of the woods? Or if you couldn’t help it, how hard would it have been to find somewhere else where you wouldn’t have gotten caught so easily?
Washington’s impulsive nature is what got him in trouble in the first place — acting out of emotion without taking the time to consider the consequences — and it showed itself again on Tuesday.
Frost has talked extensively about culture and getting the right guys in his program. I’d imagine the staff had a pretty decent idea of what they were getting when they recruited Washington, and during that process they determined the juice was worth the squeeze. How long will that continue to be the case?
The truth is that Washington’s talent is immense and therefore the impact he could have on the Nebraska football program moving forward is significant. Would a lesser player facing the same situation be given as much rope as Washington has received? Perhaps, perhaps not.
In any regard, bailing on a kid that has seemingly been through a lot on his life might come across as a little harsh, and I believe in second chances as much as anyone. But the player has to be willing to hold up his end of the bargain. Is Washington willing to do that?
I’ve covered high school basketball for six or so years now, and I’ve seen far too many players come through Nebraska who had the talent to give themselves a bright future through basketball yet failed to make it because of grades or on-court attitude or off-court trouble.
From a distance, it appears as if Washington is following a similar path to those who wasted their talents. Frost has a decision looming, and as we continue to learn more about Forst and the way he runs his program here in Lincoln, it will be fascinating to see how he handles this situation once the case makes its way through the court system.
Whether Washington is given another chance at Nebraska or whether he has to seek it elsewhere, in order to take advantage of it he is going to have to change.
The question is whether or not he realizes that fact.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.