Category Archives: Crime and Punishment

A tale of two takes

Chip Towers, feeling all scold-y about the recent arrests, skirts oh so close to the “Kirby Smart has lost control” edge and then pulls up.

The easy thing to do would be to climb up on top of my soap box and express my outrage over two Georgia football players getting arrested for allegedly fighting in a bar. I’m not going to do that. Football players fighting in bars has been going on since there has been football and bars.

But I’m also not going to give the Bulldogs a pass for whatever happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning at The Cloud Bar. It shouldn’t have happened and can’t happen again.

Coach Kirby Smart has a problem on his hands, and he needs to get in front of it quickly. I have no idea what he said to his players after they completed their first full-contact practice of the spring Saturday afternoon on Woodruff Practice Fields, but either he didn’t tell them “be careful tonight, stay out of the bars and stay out of trouble,” or he did and they ignored him.

Either scenario is not good.

The facts are what they are. Georgia, which is expected to be a Top 5 team when the 2019 season opens in five months, has had the more player arrests so far (four) than it has had spring practices (three). And that’s assuming that there are no more arrests as a result of Saturday night’s incident. Athens-Clarke County detectives are continuing their investigation by interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage of what they described as a “chaotic scene” at this popular downtown Athens bar.

As it is, the current rate would give the Bulldogs 16 arrests by December.

I’m not sure if Chip knows something there with his own private Fulmer Cup count that the rest of us don’t, or if he was just on a rhetorical roll.  In any event, he finishes by throwing his hands up, because ultimately, short of locking down his kids every night, there’s only so much Kirby Smart can do with teenage knuckleheads.

So I’m not going to stand up here today and point to Georgia as an out of control program that lacks leadership. Smart’s dealing with what appears to be a couple of rough-housing misdemeanors and some irresponsible citizenry at the moment. But it’s only March, and there’s a long way to go to get to that Aug. 31st opener at Vanderbilt.

I suspect the Bulldogs’ coach is about ready the kibosh on the jail-log trend for 2019. I know I am.

Internally or externally, this needs to get handled.

Well, I guess that settles that.

Seth Emerson ($$), meanwhile, buries the righteous indignation in favor of… well, reality.

But there’s a limit to what can be done when players are out and about, and they can’t be expected to stay locked in their dorm room or apartment every waking hour. People have to live and let off steam. But they should be expected to do so in a civil and law-abiding manner. Whether or not you think it was right to arrest someone for what happened outside the Cloud bar, clearly something happened to escalate the situation. And there’s something to be said for the idea that Georgia football players, given the scrutiny they are under, should know to avoid any potentially bad situations.

Still, let’s put it bluntly: This will keep happening, and it would under the most disciplined program…

This doesn’t excuse it. Smart has probably already blistered his players privately within the last few days. It could also be worth examining whether anything could be done within the team from an educational perspective.

Beyond that, though, you have to give young people the room to make their own mistakes and learn. I’ve covered this program long enough to meet plenty of players who ran into trouble but eventually grew into responsible adults. I’ve met a few players who needed to be dismissed. And I’ve covered this program long enough to remember periods that were much worse than this.

Just ask Kirk Herbstreit.

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22 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

The buddy system

It turns out Tyrique Stevenson wasn’t alone when he was arrested yesterday.

A statement from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has identified a second Georgia player involved in the incident which resulted in the arrest of freshman defensive back Tyrique Stevenson early Sunday morning.

According to the statement, senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons and Stevenson were part of an alleged physical altercation with employees at Cloud Bar in the early hours of Sunday morning. Cloud Bar has declined to press charges against the two UGA players but both have been charged with disorderly conduct by the Athens-Clarke County Police.

“At 12:50 am, an ACCPD officer was working off-duty at the bar and was alerted that a fight was taking place inside the bar,” ACCPD said in a statement. “The officer called for assistance and multiple ACCPD officers responded to a chaotic scene with numerous bar patrons spilling out onto the sidewalk and street.”

Stevenson is listed on the ACCPD website as being booked into the Athens-Clarke County jail at 2:42 a.m. on Sunday and released at 3:26 a.m. on $1,000 bond. Simmons, however, was not arrested and is not listed on the website. ACCPD did confirm that both players are being charged.

Mentoring, for the win.

At some point, Vanderbilt’s gonna start getting some hope because, suspensions.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Speaking of havoc…

Good to see the early enrollees getting in on the action.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

The most Urnge arrest you could imagine.

Read through this to the punchline at the end.

A University of Tennessee football player is accused of punching a Miami Beach police officer and then running from officers who tried to take him into custody.

Tennessee defensive back Kenneth George Jr. was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center early Thursday.

George faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.

According to a Miami Beach police report, George was being combative with officers who was walking in the middle of Espanola Way.

Police said George was cursing at one of the officers and ignoring his commands. As the officer tried to get him out of the street, George punched him and knocked the police radio out of his hands, the report said.

George then ran away before other officers caught up with him near Espanola Way and Washington Avenue, the report said.

According to the report, once in custody, George said, “He hit me first. Why can’t I hit him back?”

Upon hearing the news, Fulmer probably nodded his head in approval and thought, “that’s the way we roll in Knoxville”.

15 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Crime and Punishment

The spirit of Jimmy Williamson lives on.

Insert your Mudcat’s car reference here:

The University of Georgia Police Department is reporting the arrest of a Georgia Bulldog football player. Jaden Hunter faces misdemeanor charges that include driving with a suspended license and standing/stopping/parking in a prohibited area.

Question for you:  is stopping in a prohibited area a greater threat to public safety than emerging from an alley?  I mean, that’s a tough call.

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UPDATE:  Weiszer has the deets, and they’re about what you’d expect.

Hunter was the driver of a 2011 Dodge Charger that UGA police spotted stopped at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday with flashers activated on the East Campus Village Access road, according to an incident report. The car was unattended.

A police officer turned around in a surface lot and returned to the vehicle and Hunter entered the car and began to drive away. Hunter was pulled over outside the Rooker Hall parking lot. Hunter told police he had left the car to use the bathroom. When asked for his license, Hunter said he did not have it on him.

A check on driver information showed that Hunter’s license was suspended for failure to appear since March 12 for a violation from Sept. 20, 2018.

Hunter was arrested and issued the two misdemeanor citations. A Georgia teammate arrived on the scene to remove the vehicle.

24 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Victimized

Pro litigation tip from a non-litigator:  when you’re trying to impress a judge with the seriousness of a crime involving paying college basketball recruits, don’t raise Louisville as some sort of an innocent paragon.

Part of the argument was that the impact of the crimes went beyond tangible monetary value, such as the lost scholarship when a player they paid became ineligible. Diskant pointed to Louisville, one defrauded school, and how the university was in the process of trying to build a reputation as “much more than a basketball team.”

“Yet it became involved in a basketball scandal,” Diskant said.

Judge Kaplan couldn’t help but interject, cutting Diskant off.

“They were involved in some problems before,” Kaplan noted of the historically scandal-plagued Louisville program.

Diskant had to agree. Facts are facts, after all. Louisville was, indeed, already on NCAA probation and had been stripped of its most recent national championship before Jim Gatto, Merl Code and Christian Dawkins decided to kick some money to the father of Brian Bowen II so the top-30 recruit would play for the Cardinals.

Prior scandals included prostitute-powered parties in the basketball dorm and tabloid personal foibles of Rick Pitino, the school’s longtime coach.

That went over well.  Sucks when reality gets in the way of a prosecutor’s narrative.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

Jerry Tarkanian was right.

From Wikipedia:

Just months before the 1976–1977 season, the NCAA placed UNLV on two years’ probation for “questionable practices.” Although the alleged violations dated back to 1971—before Tarkanian became coach—the NCAA pressured UNLV into suspending Tarkanian as coach for two years. Tarkanian sued, claiming the suspension violated his right to due process. In October 1977, a Nevada judge issued an injunction that reinstated Tarkanian as coach.[15] The case eventually made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in 1988 that the NCAA had the right to discipline its member schools, reversing the 1977 injunction.[21] [22]

In the decade between the original suspension and the Supreme Court ruling, it was revealed that the NCAA’s enforcement process was stacked heavily in the NCAA’s favor — so heavily, in fact, that it created a perception that there was no due process. The enforcement staff was allowed to build cases on hearsay, and shared few of their findings with the targeted school. The resulting negative publicity led the NCAA to institute a clearer separation between the enforcement staff and the infractions committee, as well as a system for appeals. Also, hearsay evidence was no longer admissible in infractions cases.[23]

It’s taken decades, but the NCAA, looking to recapture the old magic, may have found its hammer.

The NCAA on Thursday asked for permission to intervene in a federal court case related to the FBI’s college basketball investigation.

Since the October conclusion of a trial that saw three men convicted of fraud for their roles in the pay-to-play scheme involving multiple college basketball programs including the University of Louisville, the NCAA has been attempting to gather more information to use in its own investigation.

Thursday’s motion was filed in the Southern District of New York “for the limited purpose of obtaining materials,” including 24 trial exhibits and an unredacted copy of a sentencing memorandum for defendant Jim Gatto.

“Although not a party to the case, the NCAA has a strong interest in the proceedings given the role its rules played at trial and its responsibility to enforce those rules,” the motion reads. “The requested materials will permit the NCAA to investigate potential rule violations, take enforcement action if warranted, and consider reforms to prevent future violations.”

Remember, all this came about as a result of building a questionable criminal case out of violating NCAA eligibility rules.  Mark Emmert’s good with that, but I’m not sure we should be.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA