Roy Exum: The Crimson Tide's Thuggery

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

At the University of Alabama, where Nick Saban’s vaunted football teams have won three of the last four national championships, all of the once-gleeful faces are still awash in an ugly shade of crimson after four of the team’s players were arrested early last week. Three were charged with robbery and assault after allegedly mugging two fellow students while the fourth was arrested after he used a credit card that had been stolen from one of the victims.

The ringleader, or the “hitman” if you prefer, was one of the brightest rising football stars in the country, a five-star defensive back out of Panama City’s Arnold High School named Eddie Williams. The night before the separate attacks, Williams had been arrested for carrying a pistol without a permit following a ruckus at a convenience store.

And, to think, it has now just been a little over a month since Alabama whipped Notre Dame for the university’s 15th national football championship.

Both victims – also students at the university -- were brutally beaten and both were left unconscious in the early hours of Monday, Feb. 11, but – according to the police reports – reserve linebackers D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes took part in the first attack but then only stood and watched as Williams beat the second victim by himself. Running back Brent Calloway, who was previously arrested for marijuana possession in October 2011, was booked last week for the fraudulent use of a credit card.

All four players were immediately put on “indefinite suspension” by Coach Saban and the three charged with robbery have actually been banned from the Tuscaloosa campus pending judicial review by the university later this week. The official line out of Tuscaloosa is "the investigation is pending."

But now it has been learned that lawyers for the three have asked the Tuscaloosa County District court for “youthful offender”  status, which would cap the maximum sentence and seal the proceedings from the public and the media. The attorneys claim their clients have never been in trouble before.

The Crimson Tide Nation, watching in embarrassed silence up until now, is enraged at the prospect of such a legal maneuver –  after all, three athletes attacked two fellow students in a bad way, sending one to the hospital with a concussion and in need of stitches. Neither victim has made any public comment but the state’s newspaper columnists, the talk shows and an angry public is putting heavy pressure on the athletic department and the university to expel the miscreants immediately.

As one fan, Dino Rogers, fumed, "Having consciously broken the trust of the (university's) student and athlete codes these young men should not be granted youthful offender status but held to the most stringent bounds of the criminal code. They had opportunities sadly lacking most young men in this state and what did they do? They want to act like thugs? Treat them as such."

Another, Glen Hackney, was also indignant. "What judge, in their right mind, would grant these guys youthful offender? These kids have already received preferential treatment by not being charged with first degree robbery, if not attempted murder, given how bad the victims' injuries were; their crimes certainly fit the standard. I don't think there are many Auburn fans who thought these guys would spend a day in jail as soon as Saban didn't kick them off the team. I predicted it from day one, they will get off with community service ... "

One prominent Auburn fan -- basketball's outspoken Charles Barkley -- couldn't resist taking a dig at Alabama during his "Inside the NBA" television show on Thursday night. Barkley appeared with his head bandaged and when asked about it, he replied, “Being the Auburn guy that I am, I wanted to be first class. I went down to the University of Alabama to congratulate the Crimson Tide on winning a BCS Championship and I got mugged. I got mugged in Tuscaloosa, Ernie, and my credit cards are missing.”

The better truth is that In Tuscaloosa, those with long crimson faces, aren't laughing. You have to admit it; this isn't like Calloway's first arrest, when he was caught with marijuana in his sock and used the "youthful offender" moniker back then to hide from the media and work his way back onto the football team.

No, this is the physical assault on another student -- not once but in two separate attacks on the same night. And when you throw in Williams' pistol violation from the night before, the latest cut-glass trophy loses quite a bit of its shine. If it helps any, insiders say that Saban has placed nine players on indefinite suspension in the six years he's been head coach at Alabama and not a one has ever worn an Alabama uniform again.

royexum@aol.com

Reuben Foster is considered to be one of Alabama's most highly-prized football recruits but when a classmate snapped this picture of him sleeping during a high school class, the picture has gone viral on the Internet and is being widely circulated across the south.
Reuben Foster is considered to be one of Alabama's most highly-prized football recruits but when a classmate snapped this picture of him sleeping during a high school class, the picture has gone viral on the Internet and is being widely circulated across the south.

My Brother’s Keeper Program May Have Lofty Goal, But Makes Faux Pas

A federal president known for misuse of the Christian scriptures has done it again, but this time with Chattanooga city government following him into a program whose name falls from the lips of humankind’s first murderer.  The query “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is from a slab of dialogue in which Cain is defiant to his creator, who is asking the whereabouts of his missing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Scrooge’ Of The Year

As we move into the last weekend before Christmas, the “Scrooge of the Year” has just appeared in Aurora, Ill. Actually Connie Ley has just died. She passed away on Nov. 25, but in her wake left the worst will many around the country have ever heard – her last wishes included that her nine-year-old dog should be put to death, cremated, and buried with her. Bela, a beautiful German ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Pair Charged With Beating Man With Stick, Taking His Wallet

Two men are charged with beating a man with a large stick while he slept on the steps of a downtown church, then taking his wallet. Jerry Quincy Allen, 45, and James Leo Boas, 40, both of 727 E. 11th St., are charged with aggravated robbery. In the incident on Wednesday, Bradley Casehart said he and a friend were asleep at Tompkin Chapel Church on Palmetto Street. He ... (click for more)

McCallie Claims Own Mat Title with Depth

  With no champions, yet good depth, host McCallie won the 34 th annual McCallie Wrestling Invitational Tournament Saturday with 223 points followed by runner-up Union Grove (196) and third place Cleveland (186.5) in the 27-team field. In winning a record eighth team title, McCallie had runners-up in James Westbrooks (126) and Brock Herring (132), plus three thirds and ... (click for more)

Hawks Defeat Riverdale, 55-43, For Rhea Title

EVENSVILLE, Tenn. – Hamilton Heights had a chance to win the boys and girls title in the Rhea County Holiday Hoops tournament Saturday night. The Hawks delivered. The Lady Hawks came up short. Once-beaten Hamilton Heights, getting pivotal back-to-back 3-pointers by Silas Adheke and Joan Duran in the final two minutes and sterling efforts by Ezekiel Balogun and Abdulhakim ... (click for more)