NARRATOR (V/O): You're watching "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong." Percy Harvin was one of the most talented athletes in college football history: A five-foot, eleven-inch receiver out of Virginia Beach, he broke records as an all-purpose offensive player for the University of Florida, totaling 32 career touchdowns and helping to revolutionize the role of the wide receiver in the modern-day spread offense. He was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings and signed a five-year contract worth more than $14 million.
Scene: A classroom in a Florida high school. A dozen or so high-school football players are seated at the desks; PERCY HARVIN, flanked by the high-schoolers' coaches as well as some of his own former coaches, stands behind a podium at the front of the room.
NARRATOR (V/O): Harvin had a speaking engagement at a high school in Florida to tell some potential Florida recruits about his time at the university and how it prepared him for the NFL, when one of the students asked him a fairly innocuous question.
STUDENT 1: So, like, I know the football program at Florida is one of the best in the nation, but what's it like outside of football? Do they let you go off and have any fun?
NARRATOR (V/O): As one of Florida's biggest stars, Harvin was used to making public appearances and giving pat, innocuous answers to the media about practice or upcoming games. As an NFL player no longer bound by the athletic department's strict rules, however, he felt he had the freedom to talk more candidly about his time as a college student, particularly if it might help "sell" the university to an interested youngster. In other words, Harvin decided to "keep it real."
HARVIN: Oh, hell, man, Gainesville is a blast. Let me tell you something, brother, high as the football program is ridin' these days, people on campus know you play ball, you are the king. There ain't nothing you can't do down there: Go to bars, go clubbin' until four in the morning, and the girls -- good lord. They jump on you the minute you walk in the door, I mean, if you wake up in the morning and you got less than six girls in your bedroom, you weren't even trying, son.
FLORIDA COACH (hurriedly): Yes, well, there's time for socializing and everything, but the strongest bonds you make as a Gator are with your teammates, wouldn't you say, Percy?
HARVIN: Oh, no doubt. Me and the guys, if we didn't go out we'd just sit up in someone's apartment, firing up jays and drinking and playing XBox -- man, have you ever played 2K9 on weed? It's hilarious! Me and Brandon Spikes were going up against each other one night, and he was acting the fool and --
STUDENT 2: They let you smoke weed?
FLORIDA COACH: Oh, no, no, that's not a --
HARVIN: Let me? Man, they can tell you not to do it, but when it comes right down to it, what are they gonna do, babysit us every second we ain't at practice? I mean, yeah, there was that one coach who barked at me because I was late to practice and showed up all bloodshot and everything, and I guess I kind of went off and choked him and whatnot, but it wasn't like anybody was gonna let that get out. Trust me, you keep bringing home those SEC trophies, they'll take care of you.
STUDENT 3: Can we go back to the girls for a second? Which sororities on campus are the biggest sluts?
HARVIN: Now y'all got your heads in the right place. Check this out: Me and Chris Rainey were driving down the street one afternoon and we saw all the AOPi pledges standing out in front of the house waiting on something, so he leans out the window and yells, "I haven't seen that many white girls in one place since my . . . "
FLORIDA COACH: OK, OK, thanks, guys! Thanks for coming . . .
NARRATOR (V/O): After being de-scheduled from Florida's remaining recruiting visits, Harvin is back in sunny Minnesota, gearing up for his rookie NFL season with last year's 25th-ranked passing offense. It doesn't get any realer than the pros.
Scene: A quiet evening at Harvin's condo. Outside, the weather is gray and drizzly. Harvin is on the phone with the Vikings' offensive coordinator.
HARVIN: Yeah, you put me in wherever you want, man. Between me taking those direct snaps and then Favre throwing to me on those deep routes, we gonna be in the end zone so much we'll be payin' rent, baby. Huh? (pause) He didn't? He's staying retired? But I thought he was talking to . . . (long pause) Well, hell, who's our quarterback, then? (pause) "Tarvaris Jackson"? Who the fuck is that, one of the Jackson Five? (pause) Whatever, man, whatever. Call me back later. I got weekend plans to make.
Harvin hangs up, pulls out a joint, and lights it. He then dials a number on the telephone.
HARVIN: Fuck Minnesota, I'm calling my boys down in Gainesville to see what's up. I gotta go someplace real.
NARRATOR: Percy Harvin: Once a college superstar, today an ominous reminder of when "Keeping It Real" goes wrong.
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