When I started reading the “long-form journalism” piece on SB Nation about former UO Duck player Colt Lyerla I was speechless. Not because he alleges the UO promised him a house and car (hey at least it wasn’t allegations about being offered sex this time) but because of the florid descriptions of Lyerla and over-the-top language that “A Place to Call Home” is peppered with. Papers including The Oregonian and the R-G weeded through it until the pulled out the details about the alleged offer, but I feel that just getting out the actual news in the piece isn’t nearly as much fun as reading the rather remarkable prose.
The descriptions of Lyerla are what make the piece. Here’s the first one:
In person, he appears impossibly large. His measurements — 6’4, 242 pounds, as of February’s NFL Combine — are plausible enough, but up close, the body appears to be something out of a create-a-player generator in a video game, his outsized proportions more virtual reality than man-made. It starts with the hands, soft tensile masses perfectly engineered to catch footballs. His enormous calves challenge the elasticity of his socks, while his forearms seem as thick as telephone poles. Even as he sits at the small glass kitchen table, in a baggy white T-shirt and black basketball shorts, he seems to loom over it. His dark brown eyes, cleft chin and strong, smooth jaw line complete the look of someone who has never been an underdog on the field, and who has never lacked attention.
The metaphors really make the piece. Later, there is this one:
He was used to being an anomaly because his body enabled him to do things that defied what so many others had hardwired into their genetic code, a hacked iPhone when everyone else still operated on factory settings.
Yup, a football player = hacked iPhone.
You can read and enjoy the whole piece for yourself at SBNation.com.
According to the R-G, the UO Athletic Department responded, “The University of Oregon takes seriously any allegation of a rules violation and the compliance department will thoroughly examine the information to determine its validity as we do in all cases.”