Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche has been charged with marijuana possession after an incident Saturday night at an Atlanta, Ga. hotel where Nkemdiche reportedly broke through a hotel window, stumbled across a hotel roof and fell “approximately 15 feet” to the ground.
In light of this news there is some advice that Nkemdiche should follow:
1. Be grateful
It may seem the negative media attention that will swarm over the next few days represents the worst-case scenario for what happened on Saturday night, but that isn’t true. Things could actually be much worse than they currently are. A fall from a hotel room roof brings the potential for significant injury, if not something more serious. Nkemdiche should be thankful he’s still alive and that he has a chance to make up for whatever occurred in that hotel room.
2. Be honest
Of course, the attempt to move on and do better for Nkemdiche will require him to tell his version of the story from Saturday night to a lot of people — starting with the Atlanta police, his current coaches at Ole Miss and then to his potential NFL employers if he choses to enter the draft. It would be a good idea to tell them all the truth the first time he’s asked because if he lies, he will no doubt be found out.
The story of Josh Shaw at Southern California proves this. Shaw made up a story about his own spill from a window in 2014 to cover up for the fact that police had been called to intervene in a loud argument he was having with his girlfriend. Shaw attempted to run from the police by jumping out of his girlfriend’s apartment and sprained both of his ankles in the fall. Shaw’s explained that his injuries occurred while he was saving a family member from drowning in a pool. This obviously wasn’t true. NFL investigators hired to vet Shaw before the draft became suspicious and the truth eventually came out.
Nkemdiche’s situation will be no different. He stands to make so much money as a professional football player that NFL owners will do everything possible to make sure their investment is a smart one, including learning everything that happened this past weekend in Atlanta. Hopefully those close to Nkemdiche are telling him this right now.
3. Find better friends
Speaking of being close to Nkemdiche, it’s time for him to evaluate the people he’s spending time with, and it may be time for Nkemdiche to consider upgrading some of his friendships. Even though the ultimate responsibility for what happened in the hotel room rests with Nkemdiche, a good friend wouldn’t stand by while Nkemdiche risks his life and puts his entire future in jeopardy with risky behavior. Hopefully, Nkemdiche has some true friends who are willing to help him make better decisions as he prepares to transition to life after college.
The fact is there is no reason why the events of this past weekend should turn Nkimdeche into a tragic figure. Lots of people have made mistakes and have been fortunate enough to get a second chance. Nkimdeche just happens to be a football player. His overwhelming talent also makes it more likely that NFL teams will forgive him for whatever transgression may have occurred.
Hopefully, Nkimdeche will make good on that second chance. He’s one of the most talented players in recent SEC history, and a guy who’s been generating tales since he was in high school. Now Nkimdeche’s job is to make sure those tales don’t become cautionary ones.