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Recruit says schools used Billy Kennedy’s Parkinson’s diagnosis to try to sour him on Texas A&M

Billy-Kennedy-Texas-A-MAlex Robinson, a four-star point guard recruit from Arlington, Tex., committed to Texas A&M on Tuesday. The Aggies had been aggressively recruiting Kennedy since last summer, and other schools knew they would have to change his mind if they wanted a chance at landing him. The way some programs supposedly went about trying to do that is is disgraceful.

Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in October of 2011. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com spoke with Robinson after he made his announcement on Tuesday. While it may be hard to believe, Robinson claims some schools cited Kennedy’s condition as a reason why the 10th-ranked point guard in the nation should not go to A&M.

“They actually did [use Kennedy's Parkinson's diagnosis against Texas A&M],” Robinson told Parrish. “But I just kinda brushed it off like, ‘Hey, that’s part of recruiting. [The other coaches are just] trying to get me to their school.’”

Coaches have a job to do. They also have a job to keep, and if they want to do that they have to maintain winning programs. Having said that, there is still a line that should not be crossed. If coaches truly did use Parkinson’s Disease against Kennedy, there’s no question that constitutes crossing the line.

Robinson would not say which coaches used Kennedy’s diagnosis against him, which is respectable. The conversations he had with coaches are private. It doesn’t even really matter who went down that road, but that person or persons should know it was idiotic and unacceptable.

“If you talk to Coach Kennedy you can’t even really tell that he has Parkinson’s disease,” Robinson said. “And I’m not going to let something like that [affect my college decision] … because I know, in my heart, that he’s going to be there and that he’s going to be fine.”

We all hope Kennedy will be fine. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s. Those who develop it have to learn to live with it and hope they can maintain a normal life. Anyone who could say “don’t play for that guy because he has Parkinson’s” needs to take a long look in the mirror.


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