Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Cowardly act disturbing commentary
A burned spot marks the place where a truck belonging to University of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen was burned early Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Unfortunately, the late football coach Vince Lombardi's immortalized assessment that fatigue makes cowards of us all doesn't include enough of us.
Too many qualify among the cowardly before ever approaching fatigue. Some even energetically embrace cowardice, especially if allowed the coward's cloak of anonymity deeper disguised by the dark of night.
That seems the M.O. for the suspected arsonist or arsonists whose cowardice in the early morning darkness of Monday led to three burned vehicles, one of which belonged to Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen and was destroyed.
It was horrific for all three vehicle owners and their families and friends, but it is the torching of the quarterback's vehicle that brings the story to this column space.
Certainly with a police investigation in only its second day Tuesday, it is way too early to speculate on what genre of person or persons was responsible for this felony involving Allen's vehicle.
We don't know if it was a cretin's random act or was linked to another suspected arson earlier that night or someone harboring a grudge or any number of scenarios.
The fact that it comes so readily to mind that the perpetrator or perpetrators could be a disgruntled Razorbacks fan or fans is a commentary on our times, not just in Arkansas but throughout college athletics.
The suspicions come naturally given that during Arkansas' 3-9 season of 2013, somebody -- or somebodies -- egged Allen's truck that was parked in Fayetteville while Allen and the team were returning from Little Rock following an overtime loss to Mississippi State.
Cowardice is as old as mankind itself and manifests in innumerable forms. The range runs from a gossip's whispering campaign that casts subtle aspersions smudging someone's character or lifestyle to the felonious vandalism wreaked on Allen's vehicle to the extremes that history has recorded that include murder and lynchings.
Thankfully the latter extreme has never reached the Razorbacks, although obviously it could have occurred had Allen's vehicle exploded with him or anybody else nearby.
The volatile climate for the unthinkable somewhere in college athletics perhaps seeds towards a storm. Hiding behind an Internet screen name, a harmless exercise for the vast, vast majority, seems to have emboldened the self-styled super fan whose vicarious pleasure and displeasure with his or her team and its coaches and players can extend beyond the fringe of normalcy.
Certainly it's not "normal" what Allen experienced, his vehicle first egged then destroyed within nine months.
It seems especially abnormal in Fayetteville.
The son of Bobby Allen, the respected and well-liked longtime former Arkansas assistant coach and current director of high school relations for the Razorbacks, Brandon quarterbacked Fayetteville High School to the 2010 state championship game. His brother, Austin, the Razorbacks redshirt freshman backup quarterback, quarterbacked Fayetteville to successive state championships in 2011 and 2012.
As a player and especially a person from an outstanding family, Brandon Allen seems respected, even revered, by most all professing really to know him.
Apparently there is at least one coward out there who doesn't know him like they do, or perhaps doesn't even know him at all.
Sports on 08/27/2014