We can agree anytime true talent or potential is wasted and never fulfilled it truly is a tragedy.
The story of Tony Farmer had the looks of a classic tale where an African American athlete with an ego bigger than his stature broke the law. A self entitled jock who was convinced he was above the rules and that they didn’t apply to him.
I remember back in 2012 when I first heard of Farmer’s story I had recently graduated high school and remembered thinking “How could this kid flounder his future.” A video of Farmer receiving his 3 year sentence and fainting in court went viral. He was one of the first stars of the Vine and Meme age that has taken over social media.
A stud on the talent rich Ohio preps hoops seen an elite top 100 prospect according to multiple recruiting services. This kid was a true combo forward being pursued by some of the biggest programs in the land.
In only his sophomore campaign he took Garfield Heights to the Division 1 Ohio State playoff semifinals. His potential seemed limitless an untapped ceiling for the 18 year old standing at 6’7.
But then something happened the part of the story where things take a wrong turn. One mistake flushed everything down the drain that he had grinded so hard for. An incident with the girl he was dating broke out.
And at the end when the smoke cleared Farmer was facing three years in federal prison on charges of Kidnapping and an assault against the young woman.
It seemed his future was over and most people around the country had a false view and clouded opinions of him because of the heavy news coverage. That day in court a school community came to support their fallen star. Teachers and even the victim spoke well in the hardwood star’s favor.
We all presumably forgot about Farmer after sentencing which is a shame because this guy had a true revelation. Months after his release the decision was made on the next chapter of his hoops career.
Farmer received a second chance at his dream when he signed on to play at Lincoln College a Division 1 Juco in Illinois. Listed on a roster stacked with high major prospects he found himself at Last Chance U for former hoop stars. This year he’s a starter on the Rebel’s squad and averages 16 ppg. It was noted last week he sank two free throws against a division rival to seal the deal on a big conference game.
Off the court Farmer’s actions show he’s a changed man who learned from a dumb mistake. He’s used his voice and story to offer guidance and advice to young athletes and troubled youth.
We live In a world full of hate and a flawed system where justice for all even has a fine print attached. Judgment is given when a helping hand is more suited conclusions are put together based on softly reported news to boost ratings.
Here we have a genuine rehabilitation story where a young man faced his own adversity, faced the media turmoil at 18 years old, and has continues to pursue his dreams.
No one is perfect but the key is for us to get better everyday next time before pointing a finger in judgment try extending a hand to aide. That’s how we can continue to get better everyday.