Marshall Henderson Suspension: Ole Miss Star Still Has His Supporters

C.J. Moore@@CJMooreHoopsCollege Basketball National Lead WriterJuly 12, 2013

Mar 24, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Mississippi Rebles guard Marshall Henderson (22) reacts after a foul call in the second half against the La Salle Explorers during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at the Sprint Center. La Salle defeated Mississippi 76-74. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Marshall Henderson fan.

Step 1, point blame elsewhere—whether it's the media or the establishment.

Step 2, be sure to let everyone know that Marshall being Marshall is way better than the haters being the haters.

Step 3, love Henderson for being himself on the court. From commenter Tok enFAMXS:

To be honest I like this dude Not the whole failed drug test stuff but his on court play We need more "rebels" in basketball Everybody wanna be liked by everyone nowadays I like the kids who dont really care bout what people say about them and just play like they want to Will he make it in the NBA Maybe Maybe not But he is fun to watch

I can actually appreciate that last comment. Marshall being Marshall on the court got our attention this year. We laughed. And we couldn't look away.

But now he has put his basketball career in jeopardy. He was suspended on Wednesday for what CBS Sports' Gary Parrish reported was a failed drug test.

Rachel Bachman of The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Henderson was pulled over in May and had small amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his car. 

For a guy with a checkered past that includes drug use, it’s sad and dumb that he would risk his career. I already wrote that I believe Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy should let Henderson go. Most agree.

But Henderson still has supporters, and we've seen this show before. Remember Charlie Sheen? 

They say whatever they want. They do whatever they want. They feel no remorse. They're unwilling to let the spotlight fade. And when they're in trouble, it's a joke.

Sheen gets paid to live that joke. To be that character.

Henderson, like Sheen, isn't changing, and that's something the Henderson supporters respect. No matter how inane that seems to many of us—whether it's continuing to do drugs or pop his jersey or talk trash or tweet or party nonstop—there are fans who feed the beast. They want more.

Just be yourself. Keep it real. Screw the establishment.

And Henderson abides.

See his response to the Erin Andrews tweet above. And as @ClayPrice15 kindly pointed out, Henderson's tweet generated a lot of endorsements. At last check, his tweet was favorited by more than 2,000 people and had been retweeted nearly 2,600 times. 

Ole Miss football player Denzel Nkemdiche put a video with Henderson on Instagram on Wednesday night that has since been deleted. The video included Nkemdiche asking the basketball star how he felt about the situation.

"Sadness, ho."

Then, Henderson smiled.

Henderson should have spent Wednesday night away from the camera and the keyboard, figuring out how he was going to get back in the good graces of the Ole Miss program.

Instead, he embraced the attention. He made it a joke.

The one difference between Sheen and Henderson is that the establishment can end Henderson, and a small part of him realizes that.

When he flipped off the crowd after the Rebels' loss to La Salle in the NCAA tournament, he wrote an apology.'s Andy Katz reported that former Fresno State guard Chris Herren, who battled addiction during his playing days and is now a motivational speaker, was contacted about six weeks ago by an Ole Miss assistant. Herren tried to call Henderson and said he did not return his call. Herren then tweeted his support.

Henderson apparently responded by getting in touch with Herren.

Herren came away convinced Henderson wants to change, telling USA Today

He sounded very sincere and open. He has talent and he doesn't want to waste it. He's very interested, no, he's very invested in doing the right thing for himself. He's a kid in a very tough spot right now—under a very public spotlight. It's hard enough to navigate through this when you don't have headlines and cameras and news reporters. This is serious stuff. Marshall sounded great as he could possibly sound as far as getting this figured out, as far as turning this around.

I would like to think of this as Henderson taking a step toward doing what's right. But Henderson's past actions suggest he's beginning to go through the motions of what he needs to do to get back on the court.

When Henderson is making a mockery of the suspension with tweets and videos, it's hard to believe he's sincere. It's hard to believe he's not just soaking up the attention and is simply after a good laugh. He might as well start tweeting that he has #tigerblood.

And those who continue to encourage him are only enabling Marshall to keep being Marshall. That's how he believes he'll stay in the spotlight, which is where he wants to be. 

But Marshall being Marshall is only going to win him a segment of the population. Sure, they love him now, but they'll forget about him when he's no longer allowed to shoot jumpers.


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