Welcome! Login | Register

2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your March Madness Bracket Around Pac-12 Teams—2019 NCAA Tournament – How To Set Your…

March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks Get Back To The Elite Eight?—March Madness 2019 – Can The Oregon Ducks…

I Have 3 Months To Train For The Wild Rogue Relay—I Have 3 Months To Train For The…

20 Ways To Increase Circulation—20 Ways To Increase Circulation

Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s Rip City Swan Song, Blake Of House Piston Invades—Trail Blazers Weekly Preview – Sabonis 2.0, Dirk’s…

VIDEO: ‘Surf Rock’ Creator Dick Dale Dead at 81—VIDEO: 'Surf Rock' Creator Dick Dale Dead at…

The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday Political Brunch March 17, 2019—The Presidential Primary Parade Marches On - Sunday…

Predicting The Seattle Seahawks’ 2019 Draft—Predicting The Seattle Seahawks’ 2019 Draft

49 Killed in Mass Multi-Mosque Shooting in Christchurch, NZ, Shooter Livestreamed Massacre—49 Killed in Mass Multi-Mosque Shooting in Christchurch,…

I’m Ready To Become A Fan Of Hockey In Seattle—I’m Ready To Become A Fan Of Hockey…


A Sour Ending to the Heisman Trophy Award Ceremony

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


2014 Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota

I never played sports growing up as a kid.  I was uncoordinated and not athletic and additionally blessed with a lack of confidence that ensured the dreaded "choke" every time it was my turn to hit or kick or throw the ball.

Because I did not embrace the sporting world as a child, I had even less interest in watching sports as an adult.  College football rated lower on my list of what-to-do-in-my-spare-time interests than going on a cruise, and that's really saying something.

This was true until nine years ago when I met Mr. Patience and Understanding.  His love of college football was contagious, and once he explained the rules to me and that it's called a "uniform," not an "outfit," I became as much of a fan as he.

Since we both attended University of Oregon, we love and support the Ducks.  Cheering for our team hand-in-hand these past few years on television, at Autzen Stadium, and around the country for away games has been a highlight of our romance and a source of togetherness and joy with friends and family.

We hunkered down Saturday night, lit the fire, and watched with smiles as the outstanding young gentleman Marcus Mariota took home the Heisman Trophy.  When he made his acceptance speech, Marcus reminded us of not only his incredible personality and perseverance, but stirred in all of us a desire to be a better person.

To try harder.

To do well.

To be more kind.

To never give up.

Saturday night, Marcus Mariota made his friends, his family, his home state of Hawaii, and his adopted state of Oregon swell with pride, awe, and the knowledge that we were all witnessing something unique.  Why was this Heisman ceremony different from recent years?  Because Mariota's inclusion this year as a finalist made the Heisman Trophy award feel like it was about a hell of a lot more than points, passes and yards run - it was about character as well.

This guy is special.  During his acceptance speech, Mariota was quick to give credit to the other Ducks, saying, "This award belongs to my teammates.  I love every single one of you."

At his news conference, festooned with leis as beautiful as his impeccable timing on the gridiron, Marcus noted "In Hawaii, if one person is successful, the entire state is successful.  I'm just grateful to be a part of it. I hope this is just the beginning and that a lot of kids back home are inspired to succeed.''

Marcus gave his parents a tribute most of us with children dream of.  It was deeply compelling and for just a moment I was so moved I felt like he could have been my son too, except I'm WAY too young to have a kid that age.

Pretty much.

OK, not really.

"Kind."  "Gracious."  "Humble."  "Selfless."  "Responsible."  "Dependable."  "Uplifting."  "Supportive."  "Team-focused."  "Ethical."  "Uncompromisingly sportsmanlike." These are all words commonly used to describe Marcus Mariota.

And yet, during an awards ceremony that was alternately exciting, uncomfortable, and tear-jerking, the programmers pulled a stunt that is the antithesis to all those descriptors and which I imagine may have stolen a small part of Mariota's jubilation from an otherwise perfect (albeit it nerve-wracking) evening.

Were you watching?  Did you notice?

For reasons I will never understand, the program announced the vote tally live on national television with a gleefully mean-spirited rubbing of the salt into the publicly displayed wounds of Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper, the other two of the three Heisman Tropy finalists.

I confess I don't usually watch this ceremony, so maybe this is the way things usually go.  If so, please consider my comments in the vacuum of ignorance in which they may reside.

From the moment Marcus Mariota was announced as the winner, those numbers were made available on the Internet and in many other locations.  They did not need to be broadcast, nor should they have been, during the presentation of the trophy.

This was the dog shit cherry on the best football sundae Oregon football fans have ever had.  I've never seen anything like it.  Award ceremonies aren't trials and I see no reason to publicly poll the jury while the losers are still captive in their seats and on-camera.

As the announcer blasted us with the vote statistics we were treated to shots of Gordon and Cooper, understandably downcast and embarrassed at the discrepancy of the numbers.  It was a blow-out and Marcus won by a devastating margin that I see no need to repeat here.

To witness these two exceptional athletes look forlornly into their hands as the numbers were announced was painful.  The mom in me wanted to pat them each on the head, give them a hug, and hand them a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk with a "there, there, you did great, son!"

"Painful" doesn't go quite far enough.

It was sad.

It was extremely awkward.

It was a cringe-inducing moment ugly and shocking in not only how totally unnecessary it was but also in its insensitivity to the other finalists and in its braying swagger - an arrogant and unlikable swagger that Marcus not only eschews but likely despises.

Perhaps I am attributing feelings to Mr. Mariota that he does not share with me, but I'm a pretty good judge of people and my hunches usually pan out.  I wondered as this display was forced upon the viewers whether he was thinking, "Seriously?  Why is this happening?"

Perhaps too I am overestimating the impact on Gordon and Cooper.  Perhaps I am projecting my own fear of public humiliation and failure onto these two young and accomplished men.  Regardless, I can't express enough the distaste it left me with and the amount of sympathy I had for Gordon and Cooper: two guys who just like our beloved Marcus Mariota played their hearts out this season and cherished the idea of winning the most prestigious award in college football.

Unfortunately, Marcus hasn't given me his reaction to this portion of the Heisman televised ceremony because we haven't spoken since our fight concerning the Civil War game, in which I took him to task for the awful yellow socks the Ducks selected and displayed on the field in all their garish audacity.

"Robin, I played great in that game!  I completed 19 of 25 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns, and as for running?  39 yards and two touchdowns!"

"Sorry Marcus, the outfit is half the fun for me, and those socks weren't doing any favors for the team's reputation as having snazzy costumes."

"Robin, they aren't 'costumes' or 'outfits,' they are 'uniforms.'"

"Whatever.  I take my fashion seriously and you won't win the Heisman with such a glaring lack of style."

Obviously I was wrong, so Marcus: please forgive me?  Give me a call and we can make up, and maybe you can weigh in on this fiasco.  I found it beneath the Heisman Trophy Trust, the National College Football Awards Association, and decent people everywhere - most especially you.

To Mr. Mariota I say: Marcus, congratulations to you because you truly deserve this honor.  The people of Oregon are proud to have shared your college career with you.  We look forward to watching you make NFL history and will always consider you our native son, even if you hail from a wee bit west of our fine state.  Mahalo!

To the Heisman Trophy Trust and the National College Football Awards Association, I ask you the following simple question: 


Why can we not simply celebrate the accomplishments of one man without denigrating the accomplishments of others?  Why can we not elevate those whom we feel exemplify sportsmanship without making unflattering comparisons to those who share in the competition?

When is it enough to say, “we win,” without simultaneously screaming, “we are better than you!"

I daresay Marcus Mariota would opine it is honor enough to be selected as a Heisman finalist and unwise to focus repeatedly upon statistics that made him so.  And that is why Mariota won this coveted award, and why he will always serve as a phenomenal example to our young men and women who compete in any arena: be it sports, academics, or who can create the best Oregon Ducks outfit.

Former Portland lawyer and current Portland big mouth Robin DesCamp is the Velvet Sledgehammer of Truth, smashing through socially acceptable niceties to tell you how to live your life, and why. She blogs at askdescamp.com. Write to her at [email protected].


Related Slideshow: Reactions to Mariota Winning The Heisman

Prev Next

John Canzano

"If you weren't moved by Marcus Mariota's speech, you have a heart of stone," Canzano wrote.

"He was the unusual blend of special athlete and solid human being that too often in our sports world just isn't the case."

Prev Next

Dennis Dodd

"The rest was history made whole Saturday night. Mariota was named on a record 95 percent of the ballots. That leads to the question: Who didn't vote for him?" Dodd stated.

Prev Next

Kirk Herbstreit

"You have to be impressed with this young man," Herbstreit said. "There's been no better player this year in college football."

Prev Next

Lee Corso

"I love this kid's playmaking ability," Corso said.

Corso enthusiastially picked the Ducks to defeat Michigan State in September.

Prev Next

Ryan Kostecka

Kostecka said Mariota showed he deserves the Heisman during the Michigan State game earlier this year.

"Mariota had, what many consider, his first 'Heisman moment,' when he alluded pressure and flipped the ball to a wide open Royce Freeman for the first down," Kostecka said.

Prev Next

"Luckily for the shy Mariota, he didn’t need the extra attention," Zac Ellis wrote. "Oregon’s quarterback did enough on his own this season."

Prev Next

Tim Rohan

Mariota was an inspiration in his home state. He further validated the Oregon football program," Tim Rohan wrote. "And he has become viewed as the N.C.A.A.’s ideal student-athlete, especially after character issues in part defined the previous two Heisman winners, Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel."

Prev Next

Michael Weinreb

I have no idea if Mariota will make it as a pro quarterback; of all the alchemical sciences, quarterback evaluation has become the most confounding to me," Weinreb wrote. "Given Mariota's prodigious accuracy (he's thrown six interceptions in the past two years), intelligence and ability to run and throw with an equal measure of grace, I have to imagine he has a good shot."


Prev Next

Andy Hutchins

"Mariota became the most definitive top-three player in any season in the history of college football, if not the most agreed-on Heisman Trophy winner ever."

Prev Next

Chris Johnson

"Marcus Mariota dominated footbal amid lofty expectations."

Prev Next

Ryan Thorburn

"The Ducks’ gracious star is now a college football immortal."

Prev Next

Brandon Sonnone

"The sample size is small and the results are mixed when determining whether the reigning or current Heisman winner has an edge in head-to-head matchups," Sonnnone wrote. "In the previous two instances, a national title has been on the line, so the Jan. 1 semifinal will fittingly determine whether FSU or Oregon makes it to the national championship contest against the winner of Alabama-Ohio State."

Prev Next

Alexander Lee

"His play down the stretch of his junior campaign simply removed any suspense from the Heisman race, turning tonight's festivities into a mere formality," Lee Wrote.

Prev Next

Brian Dohn

"My ballot, in order, was Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper and Melvin Gordon. I though there were the top three players in the nation, and that was before I went and looked at their statistics," Dohn Wrote. "In choosing Mariota first, it was based on watching him play, and his ability to make the correct reads and throw the ball with tremendous accuracy while playing at a high level."

Prev Next

Chip Brown

"Mariota's selflessness embodies the Heisman Trophy's credo as the 'outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.'"

Prev Next

Dudley Dawson

"The other two young men that were finalists also were fine representatives for the award, but in the end I just felt like the case Mariota put forth was the best."

Prev Next

Dan Legge

"The best player in the college football, which is what this award is about, is and has been Oregon’s Marcus Mariota," Legge Wrote. "I watched him as often as I could this fall."


Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox