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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Friday, May 26, 2006

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The week in eligibility-crippling issues - legal, academic, institutional and otherwise...

First up this week: big trouble in Athens, where Mark Richt caught the suspendin' bug, issuing tickets to ride to starting right tackle Daniel Inman for the opener against Western Carolina and the SEC opener at South Carolina in the wake of Inman's intolerable violation of the proverbial super secret team rules and, two days later, backup linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for the first two games and the UAB game for "alcohol-related charges" earned in January. Ellerbe was sentenced Thursday to six months probation by the student judiciary (Georgia alums - what the hell is this? Where's the actual grown-up justice system?) for, specifically, "taking of an automobile, driving under the influence, underage possession of alcohol and giving false information to police on Jan. 4 after he took teammate Marquis Elmore's car and hit a tree on an Athens road," an incident Richt correctly assesses in admirable understatement as "a serious mistake." If only he were so honest about his clock management decisions against Auburn in 2001 and again last year...

REMAINING in the SEC, where name-changing Alabama linebacker Juwan Simpson displayed the commitment to progress and civic virtue embodied in his Derrick Thomas Community Service Award by getting hisself charged with receiving stolen property, possession of marijuana and carrying a pistol without a license after he was pulled over for driving erratically last Saturday He was, perhaps, trying to expand the scope of his goodwill by serving the beat writer and blogging community with ironic fodder?

Like Mark Richt above, this story also feeds The Rap Sheet's new "Mistakes Watch!" feature, this time via Mike Shula:

"We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes have consequences."

This is true - why today, for instance, SMQ his own self dialed two wrong numbers and made dozens of typos at his mild-mannered day job; tomorrow he'll probably receive stolen property and possess illegal hallucinogens and a deadly weapon without a license while swerving all over the road. Hey - we all mistakes sometimes!

Simpson's particular mistake, in this case, was reduced to misdemeanor third-degree receiving stolen property, which saves him the prospect of facing a ten-yeaer jail sentence because the handgun, reportedly stolen from Decatur, didn't meet the $500 value required for felony econd-degree receiving stolen property. You escaped this time, Simpson nee Garth!

NOT SO LUCKY were "several construction workers" at NC State's Carter-Finley Stadium, who were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and state Highway Patrolmen as they searched for a driver suspected of causing an accident that tangled traffic on Interstate 40 on Monday and decided to help eradicate the scourge of illegal immigration in Raleigh while they were at it. A few were rounded up, a few more "ran from the stadium" as the agents arrived.

This intersection of his blogging passion and larger current events could have provided the opportunity for SMQ to present a reasoned criticism of the Bush Administration and Congress and its over-reactionary, ineffectual pandering to over-reactionary, hysterical fear of an organic cultural and economic trend bordering on tradition regularly misconstrued as a "crisis," a fear that has led a nation of immigrants built on the moral principles of liberty, rights and individual self-sustenance to reject these principles along with those of the free market and the inevitable, healthy change that accompanies the positive, progressive trend of free, fast movement in a world where individuals and cultures are intertwined on an unprecedented level in favor of a regressive, paranoid dogma that serves the myth of static homogeneity in the midst of the most diverse, accomodating culture in the history of the world, a fear that ignores the historical record of naked land-grabbing to enshrine individual preferences and prejudices of molding, outdated nativism into laws that compel, violently if necessary, not respectful defense of individual freedom and custom but the official enshrinement of this artificial homogeneity, that seek to BUILD A FREAKIN' WALL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and that allow a bureaucratic caveat to sever its commitment to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free in the name of paperwork and doomed posturing. It could have.

But then what does a lone blogger's opinion matter on this sophisticated issue of economic and national security?

ARRESTED, on battery charges, top Indiana receiver James Hardy, who is accused of pushing his girlfriend and slapping the couple's infant son last Friday. SMQ may be going out on a limb, but 6-7, 215-pound men putting "reddish marks" on a woman's neck and striking a baby is probably a bad thing. Especially when the two, as Orson point out, have apparently been together since they were about 13 or so.

OMG SHOCKER UPDATE: Hardy's lawyer says receiver innocent of domestic battery charges! Hardy pleads not guilty! Indiana officials gathering information!

SUSPENDED, yet another Iowa State defender, this time freshman defensive lineman Stephon Dale. His case involves more vaguery, his crime being "violating the school's student-athlete code of conduct." How long Dale, a projected starter, will be out, we don't know, but he is the fourth Cyclone defender - following perpetually troubled end Jason Berryman and unidentified substance abuser Matt Robertson, the team's leading tackler in '05, a bar fighting cornerback Durrell Williams - to be booted for some length of time by Dan McCarney this offseason. Running back Greg Coleman, involved in the same Jan. 28 fight at Club Element in Ames as Berryman and Williams, was also suspended.

SPINNING, SMQ's head, after trying to keep geographically straight the story of California natives Major Culbert, a DB recruited by Nebraska, and QB/DB Marvin Johnson, en route to Oregon in the fall, both accused of sexual assault and burglary in Oregon in January and arrested this week in Los Angeles. Get all that? The pair was visiting Oregon on a recruiting trip when they allegedly broke into an off-campus dorm in Eugene and involved, for full clarity, "female students who lived at the dorm." Johnson was impressed enough with the, uh, amenities there to sign on with the Ducks, where he'll remain, temporarily, on scholarship pending the result of his "not guilty" plea; as for Culbert's ride at Nebraska? Revoked, with haste. (HT: Wizard of Odds)

DISMISSED, officially, projected starting Colorado cornerback Gerrett Burl, another apparent "team rules" victim. Burl was suspended for two weeks of Spring practice, reinstated April 3, then suspended again. He plans to transfer, likely to a grateful I-AA school in need of an additional 61 tackles and 14 pass breakups.

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7:27 PM

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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

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