I generally abstain from commenting on the legal troubles of student-athletes from institutions which are not the University of Georgia. We've had our share of athlete misconduct under Mark Richt. Most of it has been juvenile, a lot of it simply dumb. But some of it (Montez Robinson's situation, Michael Lemon's as well) have involved serious misconduct. As a general rule, in these matters it is best not to judge lest ye be judged in turn.
But I'm making an exception here. By now you've likely heard that former Bulldog defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor has now been arrested again. For domestic violence, again. The details of the arrest are still a little unclear. And domestic violence situations often involve shades of gray that are not of the sexy literary variety. Jonathan Taylor is innocent until proven guilty, though it's worth noting that officers at least found probable cause to take him in. Again, we're swimming in murky water here.
But this much is crystal clear. When you're a 6'4, 320 pound college football player with shoulders wider than an armoir from Ikea, the only part of you that needs to have any part of a domestic altercation, even in your own home, is your rather wide ass. Everyone involved should see your wide ass booking it for the door before things get any further than a cross look. This is free legal advice from a guy who's represented both victims and perpetrators in these types of situations. Because officers interviewed Taylor at the scene, we know that he did not do this. And that's a shame. Because all other factual scenarios will end badly. This is going to end badly for Taylor's accuser. It will end badly for Taylor. And it should end badly for the University of Alabama.
When Taylor signed with Alabama the official line was that the athletic department had nothing to do with the admissions decision. This is either cunning semantics or a damned lie. Maybe Taylor is a Fulbright Scholar in the making. But I doubt seriously that the average out of state student with two pending criminal charges, one for ripping off his prior university and the other for domestic violence, would get into the university if he were utterly useless on the athletic field. The notion that anyone in the University of Alabama administration could argue otherwise with a straight face strains credulity.
Let's lay this out on the table: at a time when domestic violence and sexual assault issues are at the forefront of university culture nationwide, someone (likely several someones) within the University of Alabama administration gave the green light to admitting a guy who was facing an open charge of choking and striking a woman with a closed fist in a university dorm room. Am I the only one who realizes how monumentally stupid this sounds?That is a huge gamble. A public relations wager, sure. But more importantly a gamble with student safety, which now looks to have been a poor one. There should be repercussions for that gamble.
Assuming he is not exonerated in this latest incident, someone should have to come forward and explain why, if not for football-centric reasons, enough people in Tuscaloosa thought Taylor's admission was a good idea in order to make it happen. The university owes it to it's students, alumni, and the Tuscaloosa community.
*It's worth noting that the alleged victim in this latest incident also had injuries around the neck area, which sounds disturbingly similar to the prior incident in Athens.