Former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson pulls strong parenting move, has son take leave from Nebraska
With all of the fatigue concerning LaVar Ball, nowadays, there are likely plenty of people who don’t want to see parents interfering with their child’s athletic career. In some instances, however, it’s the right thing to do.
Keyshawn Johnson stepped in and pulled off a parenting power move this spring and has taken his son, Keyshawn Johnson Jr., away from the Nebraska program with the possibility to return next January, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The former NFL star and Pac-1o Offensive Player of the Year doesn’t have an issue with the Huskers or anything happening on the field, he simply doesn’t believe his son is mature enough to handle the opportunity he’s been given.
“One thing you will not do as my son is you will not embarrass Nebraska, you will not embarrass Mike Riley and you will not embarrass this family,” Johnson Sr. told the Omaha World-Herald. “If you mature and you’re ready to resume your football career and academic goals, then Nebraska will be ready to embrace you.”
As an early enrollee, Johnson Jr. did not get off to a fast start with the program. The four-star prospect had an illness that caused him to miss some time this spring and caught only one pass for seven yards in the spring game, he then fumbled at the end of that reception.
His on-field performance was hardly the reason for what the elder Johnson described as a mutual decision between him and Nebraska coach Mike Riley, however. In June, Johnson Jr. was cited on suspicion of marijuana possession in his dorm room. That appears to be the incident that drove his father to action.
“I never asked him,” Johnson Sr. said of the choice to pull his son from the program. “At the end of the day, I don’t think that decision was in his hands. He squandered that decision. He still wants to play football, and he still wants to play for Nebraska. But if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do, under the guidelines of me, it’s not going to happen.”
It’s uncertain how much, if any, playing time Johnson Jr. would have gotten this season. All parties involved appear to be on the same page that this decision is in the best interest of the younger Johnson.
There are certainly some who will complain that Johnson Sr. is overreaching and hindering his son’s opportunities at Nebraska. It doesn’t appear that he cares too much about those people, though. He’s too busy helping his son understand that physical talent is just a small part of what makes someone a successful football player.
“You just want to get to college to party, but you don’t understand: You’re playing college football. It’s a business. And it’s a serious business,” Johnson Sr. told the Omaha World-Herald. “If you want to become successful — make it to the NFL — you’ve got to embrace it. You’ve got to own it. You don’t make it to the next level by cruising. There’s no cruise control.”