Sports Outside the Beltway

Maurice Clarett Sentenced to 3-1/2 Years in Jail

Maurice Clarett will spend, at minimum, the next 3-1/2 years of his life in jail.

When the day comes that Maurice Clarett can be released from prison 3½ years from now, the former Ohio State football star’s life story will hardly have been told in full. If his lockup ends on the earliest possible date, Clarett, who struck an unexpected plea deal Monday for robbery and concealed weapons charges, will be all of 26 years old. His 8-week-old daughter, who was present for his sentencing, will not yet have turned 4. “It’s in a range that will allow him to get his life back together after his release,” Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.

Judge David Fais announced the agreement on the day Clarett’s aggravated robbery trial was to begin. He was sentenced to 7½ years with release possible after 3½ years, and five years of probation.

Maurice Clarett Sentenced to 3-1/2 Years in Jail Photo A bearded Clarett, wearing handcuffs and jail-issue clothing, remained expressionless throughout Monday’s hearing. “I’d like to apologize for my behavior, and I accept the time that was given to me,” Clarett said when asked if he wished to address the court.

After the judge accepted the deal, Clarett looked over at his mother in the first row of the gallery. She was sobbing and holding his infant daughter while sitting next to his girlfriend.

Minutes later, one of his attorneys summed up Clarett’s saga — from the time he was one of college football’s brightest stars to the day he began life as an inmate. “He was up here,” Michael Hoague said, raising his arm up to eye level. “He got down here,” he said, lowering his arm to his waist. “And he’s going to be back up here again.”

Sadly, he’s not. He’ll never be a guy who could taste a multi-million dollar signing bonus and a life of luxury.

Clarett largely chose his own fate and I’ve got very little pity for him. After all, most of us are blessed with his amazing athletic gifts and the expectation of wealth and fame that comes with that in our culture. On the other hand, I can’t help but believe that if the NFL had been less unbending and allowe d a kid who, let’s face it, had no business on a university campus to play football professionally, things might have been different.

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