Coverage of Oregon's sports teams and athletes


Piling on Cliff Harris

20 -year old Oregon cornerback faces mounting penalties for traffic tickets
2020-04-09 18:52:12 by Chief Editor
By Herman Brame

Twenty year old Cliff Harris is not treated like a regular college student because of his fame as a football player for the University of Oregon. Since 2009, Harris has been cited for a series of traffic violations in California and Oregon. Most recently he was cited by Eugene police for driving without insurance, driving with a suspended license and driving without wearing a seat belt.

Harris was suspended for this season's opening game against LSU after a speeding ticket. He now faces an indefinite suspension for his most recent traffic violations. Has Harris been punished enough already? He has paid large fines, had his license suspended, suffered suspension from a big-time game, he has been publicly humiliated by the local and national media, and had his earning potential as a profession NFL player compromised. All of this for doing what college students at the University of Oregon and across the country do every day.

If Harris were a regular student on an academic scholarship and a member of a fraternity his punishment would be much less. He would be fined and have his license suspended. In such a situation he would not be suspended from school activities, suffer humiliation in the media, and have his employment in his chosen field seriously jeopardized.

Harris has, and should be punished like any other youthful traffic offender. He is punished differently because he is an amateur athlete in a huge multi-million dollar college football program run by highly paid coaches and administrators. Harris' activities have harmed the "brand" that is Oregon football, and as a result those in charge see fit to dish out additional punishment. He is not seen as just another college student, he is a revenue generating celebrity who must be managed above and beyond his status as a student.

Some would say the additional punishment will help Harris grow and mature as a young man. Excessive punishment in place of counseling and support has never worked with young people during their formative years. Harris has been punished enough. Why pile on? Treat him like any other college student with traffic tickets. Harris' parents are to be commended for hiring legal counsel to protect this young man during this critical period in his life when he has not committed any felonies or harmed anyone. Fair punishment and support is what Cliff Harris needs and deserves as a twenty year old college student.

The week following Oregon's PAC-12 Championship game victory over UCLA Harris was dismissed from the football program.


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