Iowa State football: Apologies should be sent to Jacob Gannon


Iowa State offensive lineman Jacob Gannon returned to practice on Monday. It’s been nearly two weeks since he left due to anxiety issues. Now that he’s receiving treatment, he’s ready to get back on the field. After many people rushed quickly to react negatively toward the situation, I think those same people owe a big apology to the right tackle.

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I’ll have to admit, I was shocked to see some of the outrage from both fans and media members at the departure of Gannon. Fans are one thing — you’ll always run into some fan that says the dumbest things. But I was more surprised at how multiple writers reacted generally negative toward the offensive lineman or linked his exit to how head coach Paul Rhoads has ran the show lately.

Sure, there were rumors circling from the football team that Gannon wanted to leave earlier or that if the team beat North Dakota State, he would have stayed on. But it’s foolish just to take what a football player says, and now that we know what Gannon was dealing with, it’s clear that the team didn’t know there was something troubling him.

Did we forget how college life was like, or do I simply remember it better because I’m just a few years past my graduation? I think all of us at one point faced some sort of depression period in college. Perhaps the workload became too much to handle, or doubts crept into our minds if we really wanted to stick with our major. Maybe there were relationship troubles or family issues. There were so many reasons that could have irked Gannon’s departure before we knew about the anxiety.

Nov 30, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones offensive linesman Jacob Gannon (65) drops back into pass protection during the fourth quarter of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Iowa State Cyclones defeated West Virginia Mountaineers 52-44 in the third overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yet, people rushed to call him out for quitting because the team wasn’t winning, saying the team was better without him. Or they added it to other players’ exits and called out Rhoads. I guess I could sell all these people on a “Jump To Conclusions” mat. Is it that hard to take a step back and remove football from the situation? Connect the dots, people. A senior that’s starting didn’t just pack up his stuff and leave because he was mad at how the team played against NDSU, and he didn’t abandon Rhoads now when he stuck with him his entire career.

No wonder some of these coaches and players get a little irritated with the fans and the media. That whole week between the NDSU loss and the Kansas State game was probably the worst I’ve seen Cyclone Nation in a long time. Coming into the season without any expectation, the fanbase went postal after the team got demolished in the final 45 minutes against the Bison. After Gannon left, I think fans and media just couldn’t take it anymore.

Hopefully this is a lesson to not kick somebody while they’re down, regardless of if the football team is soaking up success or floundering in failure. It’s great to see Gannon admit that he had a problem, got help, and was able to tell the whole story to the public. Now it’s the public’s turn — those that turned against him — to turn back around and give an apology.