The "star treatment" is alive and well in Oxford. We all know that star athletes are treated differently from everyone else from little league on up. Then we wonder why so many of them are so screwed up when they make to college and/or the pros.
Ole Miss announced this morning that Marshall Henderson — the most rebellious Rebel in Oxford — will miss a total of three regular-season games following his summer suspension. In July, Henderson was indefinitely put on ice by head coach Andy Kennedy and the UM administration for his “total conduct during the 2012-13 season, SEC and NCAA Tournaments, and his behavior since the end of the season.”
Is that all?
Actually, multiple reports have tied Henderson’s suspension to multiple fail drug tests and at least one run-in with the Mississippi 5-0. On May 4th, Oxford police found trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his car, but the player was not arrested.
Boys will be boys, right, Coach Kennedy?
“I support this decision (to suspend Henderson for three games), and I am thankful to our leadership for allowing Marshall the opportunity to earn the right to rejoin our team. Marshall has been compliant with the process put in place for him since his suspension in early July, and we look forward to him being back on our team.”
Well, that’ll learn him.
The one-man Molotov cocktail will sit for the Rebels’ opener against Troy as well as the team’s first two SEC contests against Auburn and Mississippi State in January. He’ll also be out for Friday’s exhibition game against South Carolina-Aiken. (Clay Aiken has a school named after him?)
Henderson is on his fourth school and his record for on-court taunts and obscene gestures is topped only by his rap sheet. He’s already been popped for using money he’d counterfeited — just roll that one around in your head for a few minutes — to purchase marijuana. There have been other marijuana- and cocaine-related issues. He failed a drug test which violated his probation for the counterfeiting caper which led to him spending 25 days in the hoosegow back in February 2012.
Incredibly, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz writes today that Henderson “has sworn off drugs and alcohol for the season.” So… party at Henderson’s place come April?
In all seriousness, here’s hoping Henderson cleans up his act and gives some NBA franchise a reason to roll the dice on him. But he shouldn’t be playing basketball at Ole Miss. Andy Kennedy rode Henderson’s talents into the NCAA Tournament last year, possibly saving the coach’s job. But if Henderson couldn’t hit a jump shot the coach wouldn’t dare have a thing to do with a kid whose arrest record is longer than his own.
The University of Mississippi deserves all the ridicule it will get on this one. This isn’t about second chances in life, it’s about improving a basketball team. To be sure, Ole Miss is hardly the first school to give a star athlete umpteen lives, but it’s the school making such a decision today. So to everyone from Kennedy to AD Ross Bjork to university chancellor Dan Jones, you guys get a big raspberry on this one.
Ole Miss had better hope that Henderson finally makes good on one of his promises to change his ways. The school has just decided to make him the poster boy for the Uniiversity of Mississippi from November through April.
What could go wrong?
(SIDENOTE — The photo at left is not of Henderson popping a J, it’s a screengrab of him feigning to a smoke an altogether different kind of J during last year’s NCAA Tournament. Nice.)