Fox News host Bill O’Reilly joined in the debate over Justin Combs’ -- Sean "Diddy" Combs’ son -- football scholarship to the University of California-Los Angeles, stating that the athlete should refuse the money and give it to another athlete more financially in need.
O’Reilly began by applauding Combs, who will graduate from Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y. with a grade point average of 3.75.
“I mean, the kid is smart, the kid is a good athlete, the kid's stayed out of trouble — he could be a crazy guy like so many celebrity daughters and sons are,” O’Reilly said Tuesday on his Fox News program. “He's not. So we gotta give him all the credit in the world.”
However, O’Reilly continued on to say that Sean Combs -- a music mogul worth approximately $500 million dollars -- should set an example for his son by choosing to refuse the scholarship.
"Once the scholarship is granted ... and it goes in the records that the kid earned it, should've said, you know what, we're not gonna take it," O'Reilly said. "We're gonna give it to another kid, because there only are a certain amount of scholarships, even though they're corporate paid, they are limited, so they should've stepped back, paid their own way and let another kid have the scholarship."
UCLA defended their decision to award Justin Combs the money, stating that the funds come from athletic donations and ticket sales, not taxpayer money.
O'Reilly was criticized by the liberal blog, Media Matters, over the TV host's "populist stance":
First off, let's all remember that athletic scholarships are based on merit, not financial hardship. Second, it seems odd -- well, in O'Reilly's case, not so odd -- that Justin is being singled out when there are scores of student-athletes from wealthy, and famous, families who have similarly accepted merit-based scholarships. Indeed, why has there been no similar outrage over Trey Griffey, the son of baseball great Ken Griffey, Jr., who is headed to Arizona this year on a full ride?
Also, on his program Tuesday, his guests Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes said they disagreed and thought Justin Combs had earned the scholarship.
Though Sean Combs has remained silent on the matter, his son recently tweeted about the controversy: “Regardless what circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! PERIOD."