College Football Coaches are Law Enforcement?

256px-Nick_Saban_09_Practice

By RammaJammaYellaHamma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Normally, we expect fans or people who profit from college football’s “Win at All Costs” culture to give preferential treatment to players; however, after watching what happened in Louisiana regarding the arrest and then immediate release of two Alabama football players on 17 May 2016, one can easily determine that the justice system now falls under this same influence. The justice system failed, leaving Alabama football coach Nick Saban to deal with not only assessing the crime, but dispensing the punishment. College football, you’ve come a long way – you are now in the process of establishing coaches as law enforcement agents.

How did this happen?

Well, according to the police report, officers pulled up to Robinson’s car at 2:33 a.m.

Stop.

There it is – the magical time that always points to disaster for someone or some entity, 2:33 a.m. Mom’s warning about nothing good happening after 2:00 a.m. rings true again. Add in key words “police report”, “officers”, and no one really needs anything else to draw the conclusion that handcuffs were also involved. The above opening line belongs to a police report that was filed on the 17th of May, 2016 in Louisiana, which informed the public that police officers found two Alabama football players, Cam Robinson and Laurence “Hootie” Jones, sitting in a parked car at a park with marijuana and two handguns. Oh, and it gets worse because one of the handguns was supposedly stolen. A conviction of a stolen handgun yields jail time, jeopardizing the upcoming football season for both players. The outlook was downright bleak until the District Attorney dropped the charges saying, “I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning.”

Did anyone else fathom that “sweat equity” not only existed, but it could also get accepted as legal tender regarding a courtroom matter? Also, does this “sweat equity” exist for roofers, bricklayers, carpenters, or any other laborer sweating while working in the sun? What’s the scale here? Two hours worth of sweat will get you out of a jaywalking charge, but for a stolen firearm, well, that’s gonna take years and years of sweat.

Maybe the DA’s touch of justice was based on his normal process of giving the benefit of the doubt to first-time offenders who do not have a violent past, and this light handed approach guided the decision to declare a lack of evidence for the prosecution team. Sure, but there was evidence collected, right? Feigning ignorance about a stolen handgun found underneath the seat of a car you are driving or sitting in at 2:33 a.m. doesn’t usually go over well with the police. Then, there’s the matter of marijuana, the other illegal substance that was found in the car. The defense argued that there was such a small amount found; as a result, prosecutors should just wave that away as if there was nothing to see. However, did anyone take into account the possibility that the remaining quantity of marijuana was small because the players consumed the drug? Isn’t that illegal? Did anyone test the players to verify whether or not they consumed the illegal substance? The seemingly underwhelming effort put in to enforce the law coupled with the DA’s comment leaves no doubt regarding college football’s influence.

In an effort to sprinkle some levity while digesting this clown show, someone please record Louisiana State University Head Coach Les Miles’ phone conversation with this District Attorney. Never mind, we can guess that the content of that conversation would sound similar to this, “Hey, this is Les Miles. Ya know, the coach of LSU? Yeah.. Go Tigers. Yeah… Well, you do realize that we play Alabama every year? Yeah. Good. You also realize that their starting tackle was in our great state with a stolen firearm, right? And, you dropped the charges. What the …beep… are you doing?”

Have no fear justice seekers, because the University of Alabama will levy a heavy dose of punishment via the crushing rule of Nick Saban, the Great. (By the way, Alabama’s first game this upcoming season features a high-profile match against the USC Trojans.) What kind of punishment should we expect from a coach whose job is to win football games?

Punishment as listed on al.com’s website.

So far, both players are indefinitely suspended. Both have to undergo weekly drug tests, attend drug counseling, have monthly video appointments with a mental health consultant, and meet with police officers for gun safety/ownership education. They are also required to complete 20 hours of community service.

Cam Robinson spent at least 26 hours riding along with the Northport Police Department.

“Hootie” Jones spent 21 days in a drug rehabilitation program.

How long will the suspension last? Will the players miss games? The “Smart Money” would probably take the side that both players; especially, Cam Robinson have “done the right things” or “shown the proper contrition for the acts committed” to allow Nick Saban to declare victory and lift the suspension before the Tide take the field against USC.

The disappointment that stands out in this entire scenario, besides young men playing with drugs and firearms, was that the judicial system failed to do its job, leaving the punishment to a head coach of a major college football program who is paid a top salary for wins on the football field, not for handing out justice for citizens who break the law. How can a coach mete out punishment without bias towards wins on the football field? For people who might argue that the charges were dropped, so there’s nothing really to do, the counter to that argument is that obviously something went wrong; otherwise, the players wouldn’t have to go to drug counseling or attend to the other items listed above. The players were most likely guilty of more than using poor judgement; however, the people who were tasked with upholding the law failed to do their job. Does this mean that the justice system keeps giving more ground to the college football culture of “Win at All Costs”?

Congratulations on your new job as a law enforcement official, Mr. Saban.



Categories: College football

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. In these Small towns the football coaches have so much power. They are bigger than the school. This is part of the problem with the rural school, the football team is the only thing the town has.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi. Thanks for taking the time to comment (and for reading the post). Sometimes, the football team is the only thing the entire state can get behind as well. Yep…power…money… same old thing. I’m trying to just watch the games these days, but it’s tough to keep the view narrow.

      Liked by 1 person

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