What would Daniel Pulliam write?

edwinwilliamsWe all knew this was coming. Take a deep breath.

So here is the lede on the Washington Post news feature about undrafted Washington Redskins offensive lineman Edwin Williams of the University of Maryland. He's a long-shot to make the roster, but, well, he has cleared some big hurdles before. The religion angle is right up top, out there in the open.

They crowded into the basement of Assumption Catholic Church in Southeast Washington, hundreds of people, all to celebrate something. As a child, Edwin Williams was never quite sure what, exactly. He knew there would be food and that he and his older sister would have to sing "Jesus Is Love." He knew they were there to honor his mother and father.

What Williams did not know was that both his parents were former cocaine users and that he and his sister, Danielle, were born addicts. So when family, friends and other members of Narcotics Anonymous gathered for one day each September to rejoice in the survival of Cheron and Edwin Williams Sr., the young boy sang, though he did not understand why. ...

"We beat it into his head," Cheron Williams said. "You don't want to end up like your mom and dad. You don't want to end up like your mom and dad. You don't want to end up like your mom and dad."

The medical angle has to be there, of course.

The family angle is the dominant theme -- naturally. Life was hard in the 1980s in the Deanwood neighborhood near the Maryland border with, as the story notes, prostitutes and drug dealers on the street corners. When his mother got clean, she became a counselor and started drug testing her children and their friends.

The religion angle is there, as it should be.

But then it completely vanishes, which is really mysterious when you get right down to it. Why? Consider this paragraph:

Williams was not allowed to attend nearby public schools, nor was he allowed to play outside during the evenings. Pierce, then a high-ranking official in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, drove Edwin and Danielle to a private school each day, and the radio could not be turned on until the three had discussed a current event.

Just any old private school? Actually, it isn't all that hard to find out that Williams, by the time he reached high school, was attending the famous DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville.

In fact, the story later mentions this -- calling the school simply "DeMatha" in violation of Associated Press style. Was there some problem here? With the religion angle in the lede, why hide this athlete's Catholic school roots?

I mean, there is other religious language in the piece, for those with the ears to hear it, as Williams describes his own mistakes, his own attempts to stay on the right path.

"There's temptations each and every day, but there's a lot of things riding on yourself right now," Edwin said. "You can't disappoint anybody, especially yourself. Making one bad decision, in my eyes, is kind of like letting down a group of people that have built you up and believed in you, that have this preconceived notion in their head about what kind of person you are."

So, what would Daniel Pulliam write?

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