Eric LeGrand says Rutgers offered, rescinded graduation speech
Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers defensive lineman who was paralyzed on the field in October 2010, has a problem with his former school and he’s airing it on Twitter.
LeGrand took to Twitter Monday evening to say the university had offered him a chance to speak at commencement ceremonies, only to pull the offer off the table “for political reasons.”
Rutgers offered me the commencement speech this weekend and I was going to accept but they decided to go other ways for political reasons
— Eric LeGrand (@EricLeGrand52) May 6, 2014
LeGrand did not offer any specifics on the decision by Rutgers, but by going public he certainly was showing he is not happy the school rescinded the offer.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to be the speaker at the ceremony on May 18, but she pulled out after students protested the choice. Rice was not a very popular choice among a young student body not enamored of her affiliation with the George W. Bush administration.
So Rutgers announced Monday afternoon they would instead be having Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean speak at next week’s graduation.
“Gov. Kean’s career as a public servant, educator and statesman speaks to the civility, integrity and vision that we hope will guide our graduates as they pursue their careers or further their studies,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a statement.
I’m sure that P.R. spiel is true, but he’s not exactly an exciting choice either. He, like Rice, is a Republican, and is somewhat infamous for heading up the 9/11 Commission, which received plenty of criticism. He was also governor from 1982 to 1990, meaning almost all of the graduates weren’t even born when he was in office.
Former Rutgers players Devin and Jason McCourty retweeted LeGrand in support and many fans have been miffed by the decision. Even ESPN’s Samantha Ponder apologized to LeGrand for being passed over.
LeGrand has done a ton of work for charity, written a book and become a motivational speaker since his injury. Rutgers better come up with an excuse — and a good one — fast.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.