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Scotty McKnight’s football career was nearly derailed by creative writing

Scotty McKnight,, Richard Torres AP

The Jets used a seventh-round pick during the 2011 draft to add to the team the boyhood friend of quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Receiver Scotty McKnight, to whom Sanchez threw passes at his Pro Day workout, will get a chance to catch passes from Sanchez during NFL games.

McKnight also has an interesting back story, as recently chronicled by Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post.  The player nearly was kicked out of his high school after writing threats against a teacher in a journal.  McKnight missed the final eight games of his high-school career while school officials investigated the situation.

“It was an error in judgment that led to a huge consequence,” McKnight told Cannizzaro.  “I was 17 years old and had a class assignment to do some creative writing and the teacher told us for the first five minutes of class to write whatever you want, be creative and that no one was going ever to read it.

“Me and a buddy wrote some crazy stuff, [Quentin] Tarantino-like movie type stuff and were trying to one-up each other, figuring no one was ever going to read it.  It was a lack of judgment for sure, but we were 17 years old and not thinking — clearly.”

McKnight said he had committed to Boise State, but that the school shied away from his after the incident.  He later walked on at Colorado.

“People that know me know that’s not me,” McKnight said.  “I was 17 years old and had never been in trouble.  I come from a family of police officers.  My father is a lieutenant in Newport Beach and my grandfather and uncle are in the LAPD.”

Though Cannizzaro writes that the words used by McKnight make rookie nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who faces up to 20 years in jail for felony assault, and rookie running back Bilal Powell, who was stabbed during a gang-related incident in high school, “look like choir boys,” McKnight used only words that apparently weren’t ever intended to be read.  Plenty of kids dabble in creative writing that, at times, crosses the line.  Unless and until those words become actions — including intentionally sending those threatening words to the target of them, which it appears McKnight never did — it’s no significant cause for concern.

Besides, any guy who has had friends is familiar with the “one-up” dynamic.  Whether it’s creative writing or bench presses or free throws or expelling gas (fast forward to 2:00), it’s not an uncommon phenomenon.  As long as no one actually gets hurt or deliberately gets threatened, it’s normal behavior.

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14 Responses to “Scotty McKnight’s football career was nearly derailed by creative writing”
  1. thephantomstranger says: May 3, 2011 11:09 PM

    When I saw this was a story about Mark Sanchez and a 17-year old, I was expecting something else.

  2. duanethomas says: May 3, 2011 11:18 PM

    Perfect Jet, he can be creative and write an even wilder story as told by his coach Rex. How the Jets will win the next 5 Super Bowls.

  3. plundergrunge says: May 3, 2011 11:18 PM

    Wow, two weeks with no arrest?

  4. atlien698 says: May 3, 2011 11:18 PM

    OK we get it…you were 17. Geez!

  5. fonetiklee says: May 3, 2011 11:31 PM

    Oh man, if my potential employers could judge my behavior in high school, I’d be washing dishes at Applebee’s.

  6. habsman says: May 3, 2011 11:35 PM

    Nice team your building there Jets. Little wonder you haven’t won since ’69. Keep up the good work.

  7. Deb says: May 3, 2011 11:57 PM

    In high school, I tried writing a mob novel before realizing my bloody mess was a bloody mess and destroying all 300 pages. Now a high school kid caught writing a bad crime novel would get expelled or worse. Glad the guy was able to salvage his college career … and with a real school that plays on a green field and doesn’t have to beg to be taken seriously ;)

  8. mookiest says: May 4, 2011 12:04 AM

    The same could have been said for the writings of the Columbine shooters. Totally harmless writing, that the authors never expected would be read, right?

  9. buckybadger says: May 4, 2011 12:09 AM

    In a post Columbine [and others] world these things should always be looked into but should also be looked at with the understanding that 17year olds have no judgement. Nothing dumber than a 17 year old, NOTHING. I got some stories which might not be as disturbing but just as dangerous as stupid. Glad he was able to overcome and learn from the mistake, not everyone can.

  10. conquerpeace4d says: May 4, 2011 2:08 AM

    “I come from a family of police officers……”

    Yes this makes sense because we know police officers are ALWAYS model citizens and they ALWAYS have kids that are well behaved.

  11. RexCanCoach says: May 4, 2011 4:23 AM

    That high school teacher is a real a$$hole for telling kids to write anything, nobody will read it, and then cowardly changing his mind. And it cost McKnight a lot of problems later on, yeah nice job teacher.

  12. burntorangehorn says: May 4, 2011 10:19 AM

    Non-story. I dislike the Jets, but…yawn.

  13. jebdamone says: May 4, 2011 12:59 PM

    total non story and ridiculous that this was made such a big deal out of. it was a creative writing class where the students were to write whatever they wanted and it was not going to be read. then he gets in trouble for doing exactly what he was told to do? real good lesson plan. i have written some incredibly violent things in the past…anyone read american psycho? this IS a story, but only because it is pathetic that there were repercussions to his actions in this case…if this is the whole story.

  14. souldogdave says: May 4, 2011 2:19 PM

    I’m surprised Stephen King wasn’t deemed nuts before selling 10 million books.To be persecuted like that just shows you can’t trust your teachers.As to what we should do to them for heartless betrayal, well, that’s another story……heh heh

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