On Oct. 19, I learned that Chris Webber will join Wake Forest University as a professor of practice, specializing in “sports, race and society” as part of a new academic program. I am shocked and disappointed to learn about this.
I remember watching Chris Webber play basketball in the early 90s when he was with the University of Michigan.
He was one of the best college basketball players I have ever seen.
Unfortunately, my admiration for Mr. Webber ends there.
After his playing days at Michigan ended, he was arrested multiple times for marijuana possession. He was also charged with assault.
In addition, he was charged with lying to a grand jury regarding his receiving an illegal $200,000 payment from a University of Michigan booster. He took monetary payments to play basketball at the University of Michigan — he was only pretending to be an amateur athlete.
He justified his behavior by stating that the University of Michigan was making millions of dollars because of him, and he felt as if he deserved some of the windfall.
Mr. Webber’s dubious tenure at Michigan resulted in the university having to vacate their wins associated with his participation on the basketball team. Twenty years later, the University of Michigan is still recovering from this scandal.
One reputable university has already suffered because of Mr. Webber. Now I fear that our university will suffer because of Mr. Webber as well.
All of us associated with Wake Forest University have a clear understanding of our motto, “Pro Humanitate,” whose literal translation is “for humanity.” This motto is not “lip service.”
Staff, students and faculty take this motto seriously. We all behave in such a way that the excellent reputation of our university is protected. We care about our university, and we want the rest of the world to understand that this is a special place of which we are very proud. I am certain that someone outside of Wake Forest University will soon ask me about the hiring of Chris Webber and his dubious reputation. In all honesty, I’m not sure how to respond, given that this is the same university associated with Maya Angelou, Dr. Anthony Atala and Arnold Palmer.
I think that an academic program studying “sports, race and society” is a good idea. I just think that someone of higher character such as Danny Manning, Randolph Childress or Tim Duncan would serve us better than Mr. Webber.
This university can certainly do better than hiring Chris Webber as a member of the faculty. Wake Forest University’s motto is “Pro Humanitate.” Let’s not forget that.