In Defense of Cliff Harris: A Husky Perspective

Mike MartinCorrespondent IJune 19, 2011

In Defense of Cliff Harris: A Husky Perspective

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    Much has been made about what Cliff Harris' actions were on Friday, June 10, 2011, when he was caught driving 118 mph in a 65 mph zone with multiple unpaid violations on his record.  

    I understand why he was doing 118 mph: He was leaving Eugene, Oregon.  That reason there should be enough incentive to push the pedal all the way to the floorboards of his shadily-acquired Nissan Altima.  

    But there are several reasons he was flying down the freeway...

Reason 1 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Getting out of Eugene, Oregon

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    If I were relegated to living in Eugene, I'd spend every waking moment trying to get out of that town.  

    Also known as the Emerald City, this 150,000-plus town is too big to be a small town, but so small that there's nothing to do but escape it.  Perhaps when Cliff was recruited, he was told he was going to the Emerald City. He may have thought they meant the real Emerald City: Seattle, Washington.

    I feel for you Cliff!

Reason 2 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Oregon Duck Uniforms

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    The Ducks uniforms make a statement: UGLY.  

    From the pre-urined socks worn in the BCS Championship Game back in January 2011 through the radar-absorbing black helmets, the winged-shoulder pads, grey short/pants...they're a walking, talking, quacking, bowl-game-flopping advertisement of what not to wear.

    No matter how they're organized Oregon's 3,987,345 uniform combinations all lead to the same ugly result.

    I guess Cliff figured that even prison fatigues would look better than an Oregon Ducks uniform.

Reason 3 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Oregon Duck Fans

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    In 2009 Sports Illustrated conducted a fan survey of the nicest and rudest fans in the then Pac-10. Unsurprisingly to me, it was the Oregon Ducks' fans who were ranked as the rudest and least nice.  

    From my first-hand experience of Ducks fans, after seeing them urinate into their empty beer cups and dumping it onto the Washington Husky players as they went into the tunnel at halftime, I have to agree with the results of the Sports Illustrated article.

    Excluding geographic rivalries, the fans in Eugene were rated the rudest by all of the Pac-10 fans.  So much for the "peaceful coexistence" theory espoused by many of the hippies in greenest city in America.

    Trust me on this one Cliff: If I got stuck around Oregon Ducks fans for too long, I'd be hitting the gas as well!

Reason 4 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Bowl Blowouts

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    Ending a winning season with a loss on the national stage has to leave a sour taste in one's bill for a long time.  Falling to Ohio State, Auburn, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Oklahoma and BYU has left a bitter taste in the Ducks' bill since 2002.  Of the eight bowl games since then, they've they've lost all but two.  

    I guess Jeremiah Masoli had the right idea: Get out of town if you want to stop losing your bowl games.

    That taste sticks with one for a whole season of attempted redemption, only to have another season of promise washed away by the undersized rodents being flushed down the toilet bowl once again.

    The Huskies hadn't been to a bowl game in a few years until knocking off Nebraska this past year, so yeah, Cliff, I feel your pain.

Reason 5 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Solidifying His Legacy

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    If one expects to truly be a star in Eugenem the player's legacy must include some ink on the police blotter. Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, Matt Simms, Rob Beard, Garret Embry, Tyson Coleman and Kiko Alonzo have all set the example for the young and impressionable Harris.

    Part of being an Oregon preseason All American is the issuance of an arrest warrant, and this 118 mph is one for the ages in Duck Football lore.  In fact, he's made the other Quack felons look amateurish with the litany of litigation leveled on this Duck legend (in no particular order):

    Felony charge of threatening a public official

    Misdemeanor charge of obstructing a public office

    Minor in possession of alcohol


    Operating without driving privileges

    Operating without driving privileges

    Operating without driving privileges


    Driving uninsured

    Failure to appear to nearly every single one of the charges

    I forgot where I was at, I sort of lost track, but I mean, stealing a laptop (Masoli); choking a girl (James) and punching an opponent after a loss (LeGarrette Blount) are not even in his league.

    Yes, Cliff, I'm impressed you've solidified in my mind what being a Oregon Duck is really all about!

Reason 6 for Driving 118 mph Down the Freeway: Impending Doom of NCAA Sanctions

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    And finally, perhaps Cliff Harris was just looking to get out of town before the NCAA dropped the hammer on his school.  

    The NCAA is reportedly investigating Oregon ties with college football street agents Will Lyles and Baron Flenory.  With payouts going to them from Oregon, Lyles and Flenory have been the pimps (as Nick Saban calls them) for running backs Lache Seastrunk, LaMichael James and even quarterback Darron Thomas.

    The relationships and money between the athletes and the agents appear suspicious, and the NCAA has taken notice.  Given that Cliff drove a vehicle rented by a University of Oregon official, this has led Coach Kelly to notify the Pac-12 of the issue.

    Yeah Cliff, it's no coincidence that the Ducks becoming relevant on the college football landscape has inversely mirrored the Huskies demise.  You were smart to try to get out of town before the hammer falls.

Final Analysis

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    Yes, who can really blame Cliff Harris for hitting the gas?  I would have too if I had been him.

    Writer's Note: This is written tongue-in-cheek.  I do not condone his driving or any of his behavior.  I am simply highlighting this athlete who has continually sought the limelight and giving him more time with the lights on him.  

    In college football speed kills, but in the majority of traffic fatalities, speeding killed.