The sausage making that went into Nick Saban’s decision – and let’s not get too cute here, it was Saban’s decision – to admit Jonathan Taylor to Alabama after his dismissal at Georgia ain’t pretty.
Taylor’s path to the University of Alabama and Nick Saban’s team is well-known: Saban recruited him and put him on the team but dismissed him after another domestic violence police report was made. Under national media scrutiny for signing Taylor in the first place, Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said officials had “thoroughly investigated numerous sources regarding the young man” in addition to talking with Taylor before he enrolled.
Outside the Lines has learned that McGarity was among those Battle had spoken with — in a phone call in which McGarity confirmed details found in the police report. The call occurred just four days after Georgia had taken extraordinary measures to inform Alabama about the case, Outside the Lines has learned. Georgia officials sent photos of the woman’s injuries to University of Alabama police nearly three weeks before Taylor enrolled and also sent copies of two police incident reports involving Taylor. One report contained information not available to the public — contact information for the alleged domestic violence victim and the person who reported the incident to police. Alabama did not reach out to either person, a source told Outside the Lines, nor did it ever reach out to the district attorney presiding over the case.
The photographs sent to Alabama campus police have not been made public because they are part of Taylor’s pending court case. Outside the Lines did not review them, and Georgia officials say that deputy athletic director Williams is the only non-law enforcement official at the school who has seen them.
They were, however, “shared with [Alabama campus police] in order for all involved at the decision-making level to see the severity of the injuries involved, and for the nature of the incident to be understood in the hopes of preventing other students from being victimized,” Georgia spokesman Bob Taylor told Outside the Lines.
An Alabama spokesman on Friday said neither Saban nor Battle ever saw the photos.
That’s what you call willful ignorance.
Two things here… one, McGarity spoke on the record about how serious Taylor’s assault was. (“The police report was very descriptive, there probably wasn’t much of a question that what happened, did happen.”) I don’t know if that was done out of a sense of propriety or to make sure everyone knows that Georgia wasn’t guilty of its own cover up of Taylor’s transgression here, but it’s worth noting in either case.
Second, it sounds like anyone who was skeptical of Taylor’s girlfriend’s retraction of the charges she filed against him in Tuscaloosa was right to feel that way.
Three days after Taylor’s arrest, however, the girlfriend recanted her story and told police her wounds were self-inflicted. She was arrested on a charge of filing a false police report but, according to court records, on July 7, Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief as a result of the incident, and her charge was dismissed the same day.
Lt. Kip Hart, assistant commander of the Tuscaloosa Homicide Unit, told Outside the Lines that the woman’s charge was dismissed because she later came back to police and told them her original report was true. “There was evidence to believe the initial story was accurate” Hart said. Court records confirm she ended up cooperating in the case against Taylor, and that’s why the prosecution of Taylor moved forward.
There is something unsettling about all of this. Perhaps mostly because it’s hard to understanding why Saban’s judgment appears so clouded in pursuing Taylor. This being Alabama, nothing further will come of it, but it’s interesting to compare what’s happened at Baylor in the wake of the Ukwuachu conviction.