A couple ex-Kansas basketball players who went astray got off reasonably cheap - if you're rich enough to consider a $20,000 fine cheap. They may think they've escaped the woodshed of public displeasure since they got no NBA suspensions. But the jury is still out for Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers with members of a very special fraternity of which they're a part: Former players who are justifiably covetous of the prestige of the program and their school.
I could reel off 10 or so names of Jayhawks who think Darrell and Mario have more dues to pay in the deportment department before they're fully reinstated in the chapter house. Such jurors remain perturbed at what they consider "arrogance" by guys who were wined, dined and celebrated, then got kicked out of an NBA good-behavior camp.
"We who've been fortunate enough to be in the KU program are ambassadors who have an obligation," commented one Jayhawk loyalist with letter-winning pedigree. "These fellows not only got innumerable benefits, but also were lucky enough to play on a national championship team. Then they go out and reflect discredit on KU. They've got fences to mend before they'll be embraced too warmly by some of us."
Privileges, honors, favorable attention and other perks are heaped upon young men in the KU basketball family. They owe that family the best they can muster, ever mindful of their rich heritage.
Loyalty-blind fans who think Jayhawk jocks can do no wrong want us to brush aside the female roomies, possible marijuana indulgence - "just a couple kids making the same mistakes so many others do."
These aren't a couple underprivileged kids. Arthur is age 20-plus and Chalmers is 22-plus. They've been exposed to countless good behavior examples at KU where there's a conscious effort to educate young men about citizenship - what's right, what's not, what pitfalls loom. That old dog "they didn't know better" won't hunt.
These guys apparently felt they had been sufficiently vaccinated with fame to flaunt or ignore the system mere civilians must accept. Repeat the term "arrogance."
Kansas State's loopy Michael Beasley coughed up $50,000 for his role in the Arthur-Chalmers scenario: A classic case of three fools meeting.
Time will pass and this will fade unless the KU-KSU trio gets arrogantly illegal again. The Kansas duo will have ample chances to repair their status. They could work back into the good graces of former Kansas players they represent. KU and its program deserve that.
Assistant Dick Harp told the KU team on that 1955 night it beat K-State while dedicating Allen Fieldhouse: "Few are privileged to wear the colors of Kansas and you are blessed with a special privilege tonight." Arthur and Chalmers also wore those colors under glorious circumstances. Their media pictures in KU attire after the Big Bungle were demeaning. They owe amends to the proud KU people who set the stage.
Paraphrasing Luke 12:48: From those to whom much is given, much is expected.
Much was given to Arthur and Chalmers. Disappointed former KU players who contributed to their success have every right to resent the tarnish of KU's image via the Kiddie Kamp Kaper.