An Open Letter to Cliff Harris

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"What's up with your boy" That's the text I got yesterday morning only to see a picture of you at your lowest point. I can't lie my initial reaction was a chuckle as I am sure happened for a lot of people. But the more I thought about it, the more I remembered helping some very close family members struggle with their demons and the more ashamed I felt. And after the message your mother posted on social media I felt like a real jackass.

Living in Eugene I've had the opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of people in and around the UO program. Some of those interactions were great, some less so. I never met you before but even still you had a reputation around town. You were always the lovable scamp. Oh sure you might have gotten yourself in a little trouble here and there, but who could stay mad at Cliff? Dude said he came here to shut shit down and I'll be damned if you didn't do exactly that.

As the years have gone on, it seems the incidents you have found yourself in have become more and more serious. I don't know the circumstances in which you find yourself. I don't know if it is chemical dependency, mental or physical pain, or you just lost your way in the world. I know that when I was helping a relative through their darkest moments one of the things that really struck me was in his moments of clarity, he could not understand what brought him to the point he was at. Sure things weren't going great in his life, but that happens to everyone at some point. As a man, it was very difficult for him to accept that he needed help, that people might feel pity for him, that some people were actually cheering on his demise. He couldn't stand feeling helpless.

If you find yourself feeling the same way I would tell you this. You might be at a low point. You might feel like you don't know where to go or that nobody cares about you anymore but I want you to know that can't be further from the truth. I know that tens of thousands of Duck fans and, more important, your friends and family are all pulling for you to get better and move forward in your life. I know that you are still a very young man with a lot to give to this world. You are without a doubt one of the most charismatic players the Ducks have ever had and I have no doubts that once you get yourself squared away, you can make a huge impact in the lives of our youth. There will be some people that reach out to help you in your life. Don't let your pride get in the way. Accept the help because there are more people in this world that want to see you succeed than want to see you fail.

It's a popular trope in American culture to see us build up our heroes only to cheer when they fall down. And, you know that probably does have some basis in reality. But one thing that we love more than that is a great comeback. I look forward to yours.

I wish you all the best!

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