Reigning Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback Caleb Williams garnered much of the sports commentary airtime following USC’s surprise 42–26 loss at home to Utah on Oct. 21.
Not only was it the first time the Trojans had lost a home game to the Utes in 105 years, but it was USC’s third straight loss on their Los Angeles turf this season.
While Williams’ recent slump and what that means for his repeat Heisman hopes and his NFL draft options could have been a natural conversation in and of itself, the discussions surrounding the USC quarterback took a different turn.
It all started with a social media post on X (formerly Twitter) by Fox Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho:
“With National Championship hopes gone, Caleb Williams should consider sitting out the rest of the season. The Heisman is a long shot, CFB Playoffs are even less likely, and he won’t play in the bowl game. The risk of playing FAR outweighs the reward. Business decision.”
Social media frenzy
Within hours, Acho had received 9,611 comments to his post, and another nearly 1,000 showed up the next day when he reposted the comment.
From there, the conversation exploded even more and took top billing for sports talk shows on TV, radio and the Internet.
Acho’s suggestion, the response it has received and the continued debate among sports fans across the nation also has become the topic of countless news stories online and in print.
What’s interesting to me is that Williams didn’t start nor (at press time) had yet to engage in the public debate over next steps for his football career. I’m not sure the idea of walking away from his team mid-season is even on his mind.
Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. We’ve not heard from him. We’ve only heard Acho mention it publicly and the thousands upon thousands who have weighed in on how they feel about it.
Considering the questions
Is it selfish? Is it a matter of loyalty? Would he be letting his team down? Should he only worry about himself and his future over the commitment he made to his teammates?
With the new transfer portal options and NIL deals, has college football shifted to more of a business and left the concept of team and the nostalgia of Dr. Pepper’s “Fansville” storyline behind?
Those are all fair questions that sparked ethical debates for days and provides all of us good practice in thinking fully around a situation, attempting to see all sides and weighing out the pros and cons.
What would you do if you were in Williams’ shoes? How does his situation compare to routine life decisions that are made by any of us on any given day?
What are your thoughts about a large-scale, public debate taking place regarding an individual (no matter how well-known) who didn’t initiate nor ask for it?
We’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.