ESPN’s Ivan Maisel has a few thoughts on the recent news that Blaine Gabbert’s younger brother, Tyler Gabbert, is transferring from Missouri after not cementing the starting quarterback spot from James Franklin after spring practices and workouts. It’s predictable behavior for someone who simply wants the same thing every athlete wants — the chance to play on a regular basis.
The question, then, is who can fault him? Apparently Maisel can, because his quick musings on the topic linger on those concerns:
Redshirt freshman Tyler Gabbert didn’t win the job to replace his brother Blaine at Missouri, so Tyler Gabbert decided to transfer. Three things: a) Tyler committed to Nebraska out of high school, then changed his mind. Now he’s committed to Mizzou and changed his mind. B) Backups these days who refuse to recognize that they are “one play away” are shortsighted and immature. C) Coach Gary Pinkel thanked Tyler for his efforts. A previous generation of coaches wouldn’t have let him leave.
The high road in football is a hard one, because you’re constantly under the microscope and any moves like this are instantly labeled “selfish”. Whether it’s a high profile quarterback like Eli Manning petitioning to get out of San Diego on draft day or Gabbert’s scenario, any complaining or posturing of any type is frowned upon. Those same people expect Gabbert to “man up” and just outplay Franklin for the position. There’s certainly merit to that line of thought.
However, what every fan or pundit doesn’t realize are the inner workings of the situation. No one knows the shadow of an older brother that looms. No one knows what Gabbert was previously told or promised. No one knows the thought process that Tyler Gabbert has went through to come to the decision to transfer. As easy as it is to throw stones from a distance, it’s also easy to forget these athletes are college kids just trying to play a game that they love.