Devin Hester‘s NFL career can be summed up something like this:
Juke all 11 defenders.
Preen for cameras.
Little did football fans know how that began at the University of Miami with the payment of bounties, and we ain’t talking paper towels.
When Hester arrived at Miami, according to former booster Nevin Shapiro, Hester was a quiet kid who “was unsure if he was ever going to play a down of football” for the Hurricanes.
Shapiro’s role in Hester’s development from a scared kid to one of the greatest kick returners in football history is documented in an extensive report by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.
Shapiro paid Hester “bounties” of up to $2,500 for return touchdowns and even for drawing excessive celebration penalties during Hester’s time as a Hurricane. Hester’s haul totaled $7,500, not bad for a dance or two.
Before anyone labels Hester a bad guy who disrespects the game by not only drawing celebration penalties, but accepting an award for them to boot, we should note that Shapiro provided Hester with a $3,000 engagement ring and tickets to a Miami Heat game, where Hester proposed to his girlfriend.
Aww. As far as cheaters go (if you even feel college athletes accepting money is cheating), Hester’s a hopeless romantic.
Hey, bartender! We could use three more of those identity-concealing black rectangles over here!
“I can tell you what I think is going to happen: Death penalty.”
–Shapiro on how he expects the NCAA to penalize Miami for the payments and gifts given to players between 2002 and 2010
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