Friday, August 24, 2007

The 8th or 9th Shoe Drops

After all the craziness of this past offseason, after all the players who got into trouble, it didn't stop just because Fall Practice started. Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of redshirt freshman and reserve linebacker Derrick Odom regarding an incident that happened a couple weeks ago. According to the owner of Tigerdroppings, this is the sequence of events in questions:
  1. Reserve linebacker Ace Foyil and another player got into an altercation at an off-campus apartment complex. They believed they were "jumped".
  2. They called in their football buddies, approximately 14 of whom showed up at the apartment complex, including Ryan Perrilloux and former player Xavier Carter.
  3. A verbal altercation ensues, but Derrick Odom went further than everyone else. He threatened the owner of the apartment, tried unsuccessfully to bust through the door of an apartment, and vandalized the owner's car.
  4. The cops were called, and all the football players left the scene. After unsuccessful attempts to get Odom to pay for the damages, the owner swore out a warrant for simple assault, attempted unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling, and damage to property.
It should be noted at this point that it is basically glorified rumor being reported by someone who does not normally allow unsubstantiated rumor to be posted on his site. This means that while it is unconfirmed, it's not exactly a wild accusation. My response is, "WHAT THE #*$%?" Do these people not know that a potentially magical season is about to start? Do they not know that there is a real chance of achieving a lot of football glory this year? Why are they concerned about what some frat boy chuckleheads do off-campus enough to endanger the whole thing? Apparently at least 14 players on this team are willing to put themselves in a dangerous situation just to "have the back" of one of their teammates.

I'm not saying this situation is not without its positives. Hey, at least they acted stupidly as a team, suggesting a high level of cameraderie and team-bonding. I just wish they found a more constructive way to express it. What possessed these guys to think that it was a good idea for 14 of them to leave campus for the purpose of confronting these guys?

And when the redshirt freshman started getting especially out of hand, where was the leader of this group to say, "Hey Derrick, chill out! Don't do something stupid [like, oh, trying to kick in a door, for example]."

Now, it is certainly true that Les Miles has kicked players off the team for getting into legal trouble. It is also true that Les Miles has declined to kick players off the team for getting into legal trouble or for being implicated in illegal activity (Chris Mitchell). I think it basically comes down to whether or not the trouble a guy has gotten into is a culmination of other problems. I think that's fair, and that's the way it should be. If Derrick Odom has been a trouble-maker, this should be the last straw. If Derrick Odom has been an exemplary citizen up to this point, he should be given a chance to make it good. Word is that he has been suspended from the team. There is no word on whether the suspension is permanent or, if not, when it will end.

The next question is that of Ryan Perrilloux, who of course went through a lengthy probation process to get back into Les Miles' good graces, only to show up at this scene a week or two after being re-instated to the team. This could very possibly be the end of Mr. Perrilloux's career here, and maybe that's for the best. If he can't stay out of trouble for even a couple weeks, there's a serious problem there.

And finally, what of the rest of the 14 players who made a show of force and failed to stop Derrick Odom from making an ass of himself? Do we simply say, "They got caught up in a mob mentality"? Maybe. Certainly we can't be kicking 14 players off the team without it seriously affecting this team's ability to compete on the field, regardless of who those players actually are.

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