This morning, a Tennessee fan on a Volunteers message board posted a screen capture of a Snapchat'd photograph of what appears to be Robert Nkemdiche smoking what we presume to be marijuana out of a bong. According to Fox Sports' Clay Travis, the photo is several months old, and according to Hugh Freeze it is a photo of an incident that the football program has already handled.
The fan who posted the photo, it would seem, did so to stir some controversy and perhaps even get Robert Nkemdiche in some sort of disciplinary trouble heading into the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels' home date with the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday. The former happened - mildly - via the usual channels, and the latter doesn't appear likely, so that should be the end of the discussion, right?
Well, no, and that's something I'd like to address. I, personally, can't muster up any sort of outrage or disappointment over the photo. The fan who held onto it wanted 15 minutes of e-fame, but that's not too terrible. It's annoying, but not reprehensible. The coaches were aware of this issue a while ago and are "super confident" that it has already been taken care of, so that potential problem has been nipped in the bud. And, as for Robert Nkemdiche, I don't care if he (or any student) smokes weed. I do care, as a fan, if he smokes to an extent that it hinders his football acumen, but that's only because fans are typically selfish like that.
"Wait, so you don't care if he breaks the law?!"
If the law is dumb, no. If the Oxford city council decreed the wearing of the color red to be illegal, I'd still do it because that's a dumb law. Most drug laws are also dumb, especially those that govern things like marijuana use. So, no, I don't care that the photo is likely of him committing a criminal act. Maybe you do care, and that's okay. This is America, and we can care about different things. We can disagree on those things, even.
"If it's a team policy though, he should be punished."
I agree. Sounds like that was already taken care of.
"Okay, but you don't know that was marijuana in that bong!"
Well, considering that the issue was already handled at one point...
But, even if not, what the hell am I supposed to presume he is smoking in that photo? Tobacco? Or am I supposed to presume nothing at all and instead give the most solipsistic answers possible? Don't be obtuse, y'all; if you see a photo of someone smoking a bong, then you can very safely presume they're smoking pot.
"Well how can you know that's even Robert Nkemdiche?! It could be a Photoshop job!"
Why does it bother you so much to take the damn image at face value? Why all of the solipsism over something that's clearly not that big of a deal. He's taking a rip off of a bong, not committing arson.
And anyone suggesting that it's a Photoshopped image has clearly never used Photoshop. Creating that image which, in my mind, is very convincingly of Robert Nkemdiche, would take an absolute master of Photoshop - someone who is capable of crafting pretty much any sort of image you could dream up. Remember, Photoshop isn't some magical wand; it's a graphics editor. People can do some pretty remarkable things with Photoshop, but crafting that image from scratch isn't really one of them.
"But his hand's a different color! Ah HA! Smoking gun right there! (pun intended lol)"
Bad lighting + camera phone + a sleeve of tattoos = a hand that's a different color than his arm.
And if that were indeed a Photoshop, then the last thing you'd expect to see would be a lack of attention to detail. Again, if you've used Photoshop, you'd know just how difficult it is to craft an image like that. It would likely take several hours of work. Understanding that, how could a rogue Photoshopper go through so much trouble to create an image of Robert Nkemdiche smoking a bong while overlooking something as obviousand simple as the hue of his right hand?
"Well you don't know when the photo was taken!"
No, but I'm not sure why that matters. Given Hugh Freeze's remarks on the photo, I guess I now know that it wasn't taken this morning. But even if it were taken this morning, my stance on the incident wouldn't change. I just simply don't give a damn that a star defensive tackle might recreate with a pinch of the stickiest of the icky.
Can we all agree on one thing, and that's our hope that this being released the week of the Tennessee game does nothing but motivate Robert Nkemdiche to kick even more ass this Saturday? Given Tennessee's issues on the offensive line (they're dead last in the SEC in sacks given up), that's not something that would be all that surprising.