See Leonard Fournette run.
See him run over people, run around people, run past the flailing arm tackles of another defense set up to stop him from doing exactly what he does week after precedent-setting week.
It should be enough. It should be enough that he can do things that NO ONE ELSE in college football can do. If there were a midseason Heisman Trophy, he’d win by acclamation.
But people and circumstances insist on making Fournette and his talent a cause célèbre. They want him to change policy. They want to mold him into something to suit their agendas, even though he may have an agenda or two of his own he holds more dear.
First there was the absurd notion that he’s soooooo good they should hand him the Heisman now, seal him in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls’ porch and have him wait there until he’s eligible for the 2017 NFL draft. Or try to pull a Maurice Clarett and challenge the NFL draft rules, which Clarett failed to do more than a decade ago.
Fournette has said he has no interest in doing this. He just wants to be the best Fournette he can be, which Mississippi State, Auburn, Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and now South Carolina, the five LSU foes set adrift in his 1,000-yard wake, can attest is pretty darned exceptional.
But he also would like his gifts to bring some good to the world. That’s why he said in a written speech he read on ESPN right after LSU’s 45-24 win over South Carolina on Saturday — Where did he keep a speech? In a pocket of his cape with the big red “S” on it? — that he’d like to auction off his purple No. 7 game jersey to help with flood relief in the Gamecocks’ home state.
Moments later, Fournette told reporters in the LSU locker room that he won’t be allowed to do so, per NCAA rules. Rules that it appeared made his auction idea fall under profiting from his image, name or likeness.
“They’re not going to let me do it,” he said, somewhat dejectedly for the man who’s supposed to be college football’s messiah. “That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help out the families of people over there. That’s all. It’s an NCAA violation. Coach (Les) Miles had talked about it. He said it won’t happen.”
That certainly seemed to be the case when Fournette left the interview area about 6:30 p.m.
About 8 p.m., though, the NCAA tweeted — yes, tweeted — the following: “Leonard Fournette can auction his jersey for SC flood victims.”
Um … what?
Someone find Dale Brown. Ask him to hold off on the protest march to Indianapolis.
Did the NCAA suddenly find a soul in its immense, cold, bureaucratic rule book?
Perhaps. So, maybe Fournette can be an agent for change. At this point, Hillary Clinton is just happy he isn’t old enough to throw his helmet — or game jersey — into the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Then again, maybe Fournette could break down that barrier, too. He got the NCAA to issue a statement, off the cuff no less, and this without forming a committee or making Fournette and LSU churn through some ridiculous procedural exercise to make sure his gesture won’t do something like, oh, endanger his NCAA eligibility.
Even after the NCAA tweet, LSU’s Miriam Segar, the athletic department’s senior women’s administrator and former NCAA compliance officer, said the school would double check to make sure Fournette could auction off his jersey.
In other words, for someone who has spent a career dealing with NCAA rules, it was hard to believe.
“We will do our due diligence and pursue that opportunity if it’s available,” said Segar, who said before the NCAA tweet that the school would try to auction the jersey on Fournette’s behalf.
As for the statement, Fournette read on ESPN after the game, here it is:
“I want to send my prayers, condolences and empathy to the people of South Carolina. What they are going through reminds me of what we went through in New Orleans, Louisiana, 10 years ago with Hurricane Katrina. We played a game today. Right now the people of South Carolina are in need. I would like to auction off my game jersey as is to the highest bidder to help out the relief efforts. The people of Louisiana not only care but know first-hand what you, South Carolina, are going through.”
Some people will probably find fault in a prepared statement, the people who find fault in everything. But if his play — 158 yards on 20 carries, including a Heisman-esque 87-yard touchdown run in the third quarter — his jersey effort and his words don’t make his Heisman candidacy virtually impregnable at this point, I don’t know what will.
So maybe Fournette is more than just an exceptional football player. Maybe he does possess otherworldly powers.
When he gets a spare moment, I’d like to ask him what he can do about male pattern baldness …
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.