Mar 7, 2011, 4:04 PM EDT
When Washington State’s Klay Thompson – the Cougars’ best player and Pac-10’s leading scorer – was suspended last week for marijuana possession, it put Washington State in a tough spot for their season finale against UCLA.
It also wasn’t easy on his dad.
Mychal Thompson, a standout at Minnesota who also played with four NBA teams, including the Lakers, with whom he’s now a broadcaster and sometimes radio host. How could he not talk about Klay?
He couldn’t. In fact, he had a lot to say on Friday morning. From T.J. Simers’ column.
“I thought he was better than that,” Thompson tells the audience. “I want to hug my son and I want to punch his lights out. Or do both. I’m just so mad. Maybe he’s too old to be spanked, just turning 21 a month ago, but I sure feel like spanking him.”
Washington State suspends his son, keeping him from playing against UCLA. It’s a huge game for the Cougars and their chances of making the NCAA tournament. It’s a game that UCLA goes on to win in overtime.
“He let down the whole school, his coach, his teammates, the students,” Thompson says. “He didn’t have the maturity and responsible behavior to know what this game means to Washington State.
“He’ll have to walk around campus now with a scarlet ‘M’ on his forehead. It’s a huge mistake.”
It’s a form of tough love that might sound crazy to some parents, coaches and athletes out there. Klay admitted he “screwed up” and would love to move on from an error some college students make.
But Mychal’s stance is both refreshing for its frankness and accountability. People make mistakes. How they learn and grow from those mistakes is how they become adults. Mychal wants want all parents want – for their kids to be safe, be smart and thrive as adults.
Nothing wrong with a little tough love in that case. Even if the sports world does hear about it.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
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