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Opinion: Pachall's well-being more important than football

Pachall's arrest affects his whole life, but fans are only slightly inconvenienced. We can leave our frustrations in the stands, but Pachall must carry his everywhere.

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Former quarterback Casey Pachall's team headshot from the Fall 2012 season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics.

Former quarterback Casey Pachall's team headshot from the Fall 2012 season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics.

On Tuesday, head coach Gary Patterson announced that Casey Pachall is leaving the university this semester to check into a rehabilitation facility. Pachall will have the ability to re-enroll in the spring and finish his last two semesters of school.

This was absolutely the right decision, and I applaud Patterson, Pachall and his family and Chancellor Victor Boschini for how they handled this. This is exactly how a respected university deals with a difficult situation. And it is a difficult situation that goes far beyond football. It goes far beyond how many games the football team wins this year.
 
Pachall is not just a quarterback. He is not just a football player. He is a person. So for anyone whose reaction to this is purely concerned with whether or not we beat Texas or make it to a bowl game, I want to respectfully ask you to step back and take a look at the big picture.

Pachall was arrested last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He was pulled over early Thursday morning after running a stop sign and running over a curb. His blood alcohol content was equal to or greater than .15, which is about twice the legal limit of .08. Later that morning, Patterson announced that Pachall was suspended from the team indefinitely because of the incident.

Everyone knows the rest of the story. Trevone Boykin started at quarterback on Saturday against Iowa State. He had practiced at quarterback with the first-team offense for one day that week. TCU lost 37-23.

As I left the stadium, I heard people shouting obscenities and insults about Pachall for putting the team in this situation. Because of him, we had lost for the first time this season, and we were likely to lose even more now, they said. I want to ask those people a question: Is that really what we should be focusing on right now? Does that even matter?

A fellow student was arrested for drunk driving. Impaired by that much alcohol, he could have gotten into a wreck and seriously injured someone else or himself. Someone could have died that night. He also failed a drug test in February, so it is clear that this is not a first time offense or a momentary lapse in judgement, but a persisting problem. And yet we are concerned about how many football games we will lose without him starting? How screwed up are our priorities?

"We're trying to help [Casey] with his life," Patterson said. "Period. For all of you who say it's about wins and losses - wrong."

Patterson is right. This is about much more than football. This is about keeping a young man from going down the wrong path and making more decisions that could be harmful to himself or to others. Pachall needs help, because next time a choice like that could have far worse consequences. Pachall is lucky that he is alive today. He is lucky no one else got hurt. He is lucky no one got killed. He has a chance to fix this, and not everyone who faces a problem like this gets that chance.

So we all need to treat Pachall with respect. We should offer him our prayers and do whatever we can to help him and support him. After all, do you really think you are more upset about this than he is?

 
This affects Pachall's whole life, but we are only slightly inconvenienced. We can leave our frustrations in the stands, but Pachall must carry his everywhere. So do not act like this is the end of the world. This far more difficult for Pachall than it is for you or for me.
 
Matt Jennings is a first-year journalism major from Lawrenceville, Ga.
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