If they had no perceived value to the schools as athletes they would have been booted from school already or even before thesemost recent events. So it is not only the coaches, but the ADs and other school officials that are trying to figure out a way to hold onto these two. Which makes it even sicker.
I’m talking, of course, about LSU football player Jeremy Hill and Ole Miss basketballer Marshall Henderson. Both made news last week — during my last semi-vacation of the summer — and I didn’t get to weigh in on their situations. I’ll do so now. Here goes: Get rid of them.
Having been so harsh today, if you look back at my track record as one of MrSEC.com’s writers you’ll realize quickly that I’m typically a pretty lenient guy. I believe in second chances. And third chances. And fourths.
I’ve had a few chances of my own in life and I haven’t forgotten that fact.
While people deserve second, third, fourth and more chances in their real lives, the same doesn’t hold true when it comes to their sporting lives. Playing on a college football or basketball team — and representing a university — is a privilege, not a right.
In my view, there are two things that should get a player heave-ho’d from his college team. First, any violent crime. Beat a fellow student or assault another person — physically or sexually — and you should be gone. End of story. Hit the bricks.
Second, if a player repeatedly embarrasses his institution he should also be ix-nayed from the program.
Hill is guilty of the first. Henderson is guilty of the second. Both should be shown the door.
Last week, Hill — LSU’s leading returning rusher with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago — pled guilty to a charge of simple battery. In April, he was caught on cell phone video punching a 20-year-old man in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge bar. So what’s the big deal with a single punch? Hill and another man — Robert Bayardo — punched the victim from behind, knocked him to the ground, and the proceeded to celebrate said blindsiding.
Hill’s plea on Friday also opens the door for jail time. That’s because Hill was already on probation after pleading guilty last year to “carnal knowledge of a juvenile.” Hill — then 18 — engaged in a sex act with a 14-year-old girl during his high school days back in 2010. According to Baton Rouge police, he intimidated the girl in question.
As of today, LSU’s Les Miles has suspended Hill indefinitely, but the school has said via statement that the coach will let “the legal process surrounding this matter” come to a conclusion before taking further action.
Sure. Who doesn’t look at Hill’s track record and this video without thinking, “Hey, that big lug needs another chance to serve as an ambassador for LSU?” Then again, Miles and LSU looked the other way regarding the failed drug tests of ex-star Tyrann Mathieu — at least according to an NFL source who quoted the player — time and time and time again. So why should any of us expect Hill to be dismissed from the Tiger team before it’s literally impossible for him to play?
It’s hard to carry the football in handcuffs, you see. That will make Miles’ decision so much easier.
Meanwhile, down in Mississippi the punkiest punk to ever step onto an SEC basketball court has stepped into trouble once more. I’m not even going to try and hide the fact that I think UM’s streak-shooting, taunting, hot-dogging guard, Henderson, hasn’t topped my own “most loathed” list since last spring. I’ve stated time and again that he’s an embarrassment to his school and the conference. The SEC should have suspended him when he jumped on the scorer’s table and taunted the Missouri contingent during March’s SEC tourney.
At the time, many, many Ole Miss fans emailed and tweeted to let me know that I was just “jealous” of the kid’s mad basketball skills. Why, Henderson never hurt anybody.
Well now he’s hurt the Ole Miss basketball program. Needless to say, I’ve not heard from any Rebel fans taking his side in the past few days.
Last week Henderson was at least suspended from Andy Kennedy’s team after getting caught by Oxford police with marijuana and cocaine in his car. It’s also been reported that Henderson has had a string of run-ins with the cops in Oxford: a seat belt issue, a noise complaint, and then punkishly/stupidly turning the music right back up just as soon as a cop had handed him his noise citation. That’s not exactly the work of John Dillinger, but Henderson’s history includes several more serious issues (marijuana, counterfeit money, failed drug tests for pot and cocaine and so on).
The kid simply has no respect for authority — Ole Miss is his fourth college stop — but Kennedy needed an outside gunner to help save his job last offseason. The coach ignored all the warning signs and inked Henderson who proceeded to help save the coach’s hide. Kennedy — as well as Rebel fans — looked the other way as the player repeatedly made fools of them with his classless on-court act.
Oh, don’t say you weren’t warned, UM fans. Play with fire and you’re eventually gonna get burned, yelped the chorus of fuddy-duddies who weren’t down with the Rebel bad boy. We tried to tell you. I tried to tell you. And now your star has let you, his coach and his teammates down.
But despite Henderson once again dragging Ole Miss’ name through the mud, Kennedy hasn’t gone so far as to boot his star. Some have even suggested that he can’t dismiss Henderson from his team because the poor lad might have a drug addiction. That’s an interesting view. Apparently Henderson should be given a career-long hall pass by Kennedy and the UM administration because they knew what they were bringing onto their campus.
Yeah, that’ll help the kid grow up.
Here’s a different idea. Let’s say Kennedy boots Henderson from his team to save himself and his school more embarrassment and to try to teach the player that there are consequences that come with bad behavior. Also, owing his job, his contract extension, and his raise in part to Henderson, Kennedy should then pay for Henderson to go to rehab out of his own deep pockets.
It wouldn’t be an NCAA violation if Henderson weren’t a member of the UM squad. And it would show that Kennedy cares about both his program’s image and Henderson’s well-being.
We all know, of course, that that won’t happen.
Hill at LSU and Henderson at Ole Miss will probably remain on their squads until it’s all but impossible for them to suit up and play ball. As a result, both schools should take a verbal beating for putting on-field/on-court victories ahead of their own reputations as universities.
Violent crime. Repeated embarrassments.
Give Hill and Henderson more chances to rebuild their lives. Help them. Aid them. But their athletic opportunities at LSU and Ole Miss should have run out.