A good number of African American male students with criminal pasts, typically drugs, assault and/or robbery, flock to college classrooms in search of a second chance.
Everyone deserves a second chance, but not everyone gets it. Brandon Joiner, a former player at Arkansas State with a criminal conviction was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals this week.
At Arkansas State, Joiner's 2010 record was stellar. Joiner started six games, played in 11. He had 34 tackles and 4 sacks, and that's only a little of what he'd done with Arkansas State's Red Wolves.
Joiner, a Kileen, Texas native, was indicted on robbery and drugs charges in 2008 while a student at Texas A&M. Like a number of young men facing prison time, Joiner flocked to a higher ed program. Arkansas State welcomed him and his work there speaks for itself.
Unlike a number of African American men who are facing jail time and choose college in the interim, Joiner was able to make the most of his time as a student athlete in Arkansas, even as he faced a three year prison sentence.
He signed with the Bengals in May last year, but had to serve his prison sentence. Currently, he's out on parole.
As far as the Bengals' fans are concerned, as well as sports critics, there's no guarantee Joiner is certain to make the Bengals roster in the upcoming NFL season.
But for the numbers of African American male students who see the light after criminal incidents, and then choose to get it together via the higher education railroad, Joiner's a good example of the second chances that most everyone deserves.