The University of Alabama has released a new statement — this one from head coach Nick Saban — that fails to deliver the justice at least two of the four players arrested yesterday deserve.
For those who haven’t been keeping up, Alabama freshman footballers Tyler Hayes, DJ Pettway, and Eddie Williams have been charged with second degree robbery of two fellow UA students. Both students were assaulted and beaten. The arrest reports show that Hayes and Williams admitted their involvement to police. If true, they should be booted immediately.
But they will not be:
“The young men charged are indefinitely suspended as we continue to gather information and talk to the appropriate people. The University and football program have strict guidelines regarding issues of this magnitude. This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program.”
Unfortunately, yes, it is representative of Alabama’s football program so long as those players — especially the two who reportedly confessed to police — are members of the Crimson Tide football program. There’s really no other way to put it. If two players admit to beating and robbing two UA students yet they are allowed to remain on the football team as representatives of the school, their deeds are indeed representative of the team.
If Saban, AD Mal Moore, and the Alabama administration don’t want these people representing their football team or the school, the rather simple solution is to show them the exit.
These are serious issues. This isn’t some underage kid drinking a beer in front of campus police. This isn’t a player with a blunt in his glove compartment. This isn’t a freshman driving with a suspended license. These were violent crimes that left at least one student unconscious. Nothing more needs to be said.
If Hayes and Williams confessed, they should be gone. If it’s proven Pettway took part in this, he should be dismissed just as coolly.
The fourth player involved in all of this — freshman Brent Calloway — has been charged with using a credit card stolen from one of his teammates’ two victims. He claimed via Twitter that “it wasn’t a credit card” and that he “wasn’t even awake during the robbery.” If there’s a player who might deserve a second chance on Saban’s team it’s Calloway. But Calloway was himself arrested on possession of marijuana charges in 2011. Whether two strikes constitute an out at Alabama is yet to be determined.
What we do know is that several strikes from players’ fists and feet to their fellow students’ heads and bodies do not.
SIDENOTE – Perhaps Alabama’s decision not to dismiss the players — at least not yet — will put to rest the batty notion that Saban somehow knew these robberies were going to be committed and was counting on them to allow him to do some roster-purging. Hell, the CIA couldn’t pull off such a conspiracy. That’s “Zero Dark Nutty.”