January 10th, 2013 03:25 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Florida
Tags: Chris Rainey, Gainesville Police, Ohio State, Pittsburgh Steelers
In the fall of 2010, Florida receiver Chris Rainey was arrested on stalking charges after sending a threatening email to his girlfriend. The message read, “Time to Die, Bitch.”
Not long after Rainey agreed to a plea bargain, then-Gator coach Urban Meyer welcomed him back to the UF football team. Meyer took heat at the time for looking the other way. But the coach said Rainey had never been in trouble before: “He’s never been an issue before and he certainly better never be again.”
Rainey finished up his career at Florida and is now a professional with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meyer left Gainesville after the 2010 season only to get back into coaching this season at Ohio State. In April of last year, Rainey repaid his ex-coach’s 2010 leniency by saying that he believed Meyer and his coaches “were scared” of certain players and gave them preferential treatment as a result.
Apparently the irony of what he was saying was lost on Rainey.
I bring this all back up because Rainey was once again in the news today. At 8:26am this morning, Gainesville Police received a call from a witness who reported seeing a male and a female engaged in “a verbal altercation that turned physical.” The police report states that “Rainey and the victim got into an argument over Rainey’s cell phone” and that witnesses “observed Rainey slap the victim across the face with an open hand.”
Rainey was charged with one count of simple battery for “dating violence.” The police report says Rainey has been dating the victim for about nine months.
To be fair, Rainey hasn’t been found guilty yet and perhaps both of his dustups with women can be explained away easily. Here’s guessing, however, that there’s more to these stories than just coincidence. Also, if Rainey is found guilty of this latest offense, it will be crystal clear to us that he might have benefited had Meyer handed down some real discipline back in 2010.
There’s a feeling among coaches — and most fans — that a troubled player on their team can be helped more with love than with punishment. While this writer is far from a hanging judge, there are certain issues that require discipline and consequences whether those consequences hurt a team’s chances of winning games or not. Violence or violent attitudes toward women are among those serious issues.
In Rainey’s case we’ve now moved from a threatening text to an alleged slap. What’s next? And would the slap have even happened had Meyer benched Rainey for a number of weeks back in 2010, showing him that his ways would have to change?
We’ll never know the answer to that last question. We’ll only know that Meyer looked the other way — as many coaches do — when Rainey crossed a line. Police and witnesses say Rainey has now crossed another one. Wonder what Meyer thinks about that today?
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