Renardo Sidney is gone. He has signed with an agent and will no longer be a part of the Mississippi State program. For many, this is a cause for celebration. A lot of State fans let their frustrations towards the big man known while he was playing, many others have jumped on him now that he's gone. I find it interesting how so many people hate Sidney, but they barely take mention of other MSU players with similar situations.
In no way am I defending Sidney. He is immature, lazy, selfish, and the list goes on. But one thing he is not: a criminal. He may have lied about benefits he received while in high school, he may have fought Elgin Bailey in Hawaii, he may have eaten way too many cheeseburgers, but he hasn't committed any crimes. He never even got a DUI - something the beloved Boobie Dixon did before the 2009 season opener.
Despite not getting into trouble with the law, Sidney seems to be treated like he has. The hatred reserved for Sid is the type of stuff you'd expect to be thrown at thugs. Do you remember guys like Dontae Walker, Nick Turner, Darren Williams? 4 & 5 star players who threw their careers/lives away in drugs and criminal activity? Do you remember MSU fans detesting them as much as they do Renardo Sidney? I don't. Those guys were thugs, Sid is just a couch potato.
I think I know why this is. It's the difference between basketball and football. In football, you are watching 22 guys play from far away - and you can't see their faces. In basketball, you are watching five guys up close, and you can see every emotion. You know the players, their personalities. There is a bigger spotlight on each basketball player then there is on football players - other than the quarterback.
I'm not saying the expressions of frustration towards Sid aren't justified. They are. He was immature, lazy, wasted a ton of Mississippi State's time and money, etc. But why aren't we just as much - or more - upset with the players who disrupt the team with DUI's, drugs, criminal activity? Perhaps it's because they are thrown off the team quickly in most cases, but not all. Were we really subconsciously mad at Stans for not throwing him off the team, but we took it out on Sid?
I know his type of behavior can have just as much of a negative impact on a team as the criminal behavior can. But in the eyes of the fan - the way we treat him - it shouldn't. Ultimately, he is probably the reason Rick Stansbury is no longer the coach at MSU. But, Stansbury is paying for a bad decision - just like many of us do in our own lives.
I've seen a lot of people saying Sidney will never amount to anything. Why say that? Like I've said, he's really not a bad kid, just immature. He's got a lot of growing up to do, and hopefully he will be able to do that sooner rather than later. I don't know what his chances of making a professional team are, but that doesn't really matter. I just want him to become a man - a responsible, respectable member of society.