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You don’t have to agree with a student athlete’s decision, but you should respect it

Texas A&M fans weren’t surprised when we learned that receiver Jhamon Ausbon had opted out of the 2020 season, as he had not been practicing with the team, and Jimbo Fisher had hinted at this outcome in his press conference the week prior. But most were caught more flat-footed yesterday by the news that starting linebacker Anthony Hines will also be opting out of the season, now less than a week away.

He joins Ausbon as well as DB Elijah Blades, QB James Foster and DB Derrick Tucker as players who will not play football this fall.

After the social media reaction that followed, Hines also provided this additional statement.

From a strictly football perspective, it certainly hurts the Aggies. Hines was meant to be one of the centerpieces of a defense that was supposed to be (and may still be) the strongest in recent memory in Aggieland. But as a fan, it’s important to remember (and sometimes it can be easy to forget), that these student athletes are people just like the rest of us. They have hardships and circumstances that we often don’t know about, and ones that honestly, we shouldn’t have to know about. They give so much to this university and athletic program through their blood, sweat and tears. And whether some fans believe it or not, these athletes care far more about the team’s wins and losses than you do. But no matter how much football may be an integral part of their lives, there are things that are more important than football.

Each if these athletes made an incredibly difficult decision. One that they likely knew wouldn’t be received well, but one they believed they had to make. As fans, we aren’t obligated to agree with those decisions. But we do need to respect them. Jhamon Ausbon, Anthony Hines and the other players who have opted out haven’t slighted you personally, and you should extend to them that same courtesy. All of us have unique circumstances that influence the way we go through life, and the decisions we made as we do so.

Hines was kind enough to share a bit of insight into what led to his decision. I hope that the next time a student athlete makes a decision like this, they don’t feel like they have to.

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