Why we can’t have nice things, nor cast stones

Tennessee 50 Kentucky 16

Unfortunately I couldn’t watch the game live and had to wait until this evening. But I had no knowledge of any football scores, so it was just like a Saturday afternoon this Monday evening. And of course after watching the game, I read some articles to catch up on Vols news, which caused me to once again to ask myself why I care at all…

First the game.

I remember the annual Kentucky game over the years as a hard-hitting affair. And the 2014 installment was no different. It seemed like there were bodies down every other play.

It was a fun game to watch. Tennessee doesn’t win games 50 to 16 very often anymore. But what is even better is watching the future.

Astro Dobbs completed 19 of 27 passes for 297 yards, including 3 TDs and no INTs. He also averaged nearly 5 yards per carry on 10 runs, one of which was a touchdown.

Jalen Hurd just keeps getting better and better while running for 129 yards on 25 carries, including a TD. And he’s starting to remind me of Montario Hardesty in the way that he finishes runs with strength.

Wide receivers Von Pearson, Jason Croom, and Pig Howard had productive performances.

Freshman DE Derek Barnett is starting to remind me of a former Vol DE whose number and name is featured on the rim in Neyland Stadium.

And Tennessee has truly discipline on the field. The Vols were flagged only three times.

But Tennessee off the field is unfortunately becoming a different kind of story…

*****

Linebacker A. J. Johnson and cornerback Michael Williams were suspended Monday from all team activities for being part of an investigation into an alleged rape and sexual assault after Saturday’s game. No charges have been filed against either player. County prosecutors will decide that detail after the Knoxville Police Department finishes their investigation and hands it over to the District Attorney.

Two women are apparently involved – one woman indicating that she had been raped by two males and the other woman saying that she was a victim of sexual assault. The woman who indicated she was raped is a UT student and she met with police. The other woman that reported she was the victim of a sexual assault has decided not to prosecute and returned to Florida where she attends college.

Regardless of the legal details, it is highly disturbing to hear about A. J. Johnson being involved in this news, mainly because of how he has been portrayed as a leader. If charges are filed, which will reflect compelling evidence, I hope Mr. Johnson is immediately expelled from the University, all his records erased from the book, and his letterman’s pin taken from him.

And the same goes for Mr. Williams.

It’s the second year of Butch Jones’ tenure as Tennessee Head Coach. He needs to be decisive and unwavering in his commitment to all of the things he says about building a program full of young men with character. Jones must be willing to risk anything and everything by telling the Athletic Department that he will not tolerate this kind of thing.

The University is not a court of law – you shouldn’t have to be found guilty of a crime before being excommunicated and your name forever erased from the school’s memory.

In cases like this, especially when it comes to domestic abuse/rape/sexual assault, the number one rule is no mercy. None.

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4 responses to “Why we can’t have nice things, nor cast stones”

  1. Bert says :

    agree 100%…butch jones, so far, has done the right thing [unlike jimbo
    fisher and the fsu 12th man: the tallahassee police department].

    this is an opportunity for butch jones to establish the code of conduct
    going forward and make clear that this will not be tolerated.

    let’s hope he moves the program forward…i have high hopes that he will.

  2. TK says :

    And I agree with you both. Such a disappointment if the allegations are true. And if they prove to be untrue such a disappointment that these guys put themselves in a situation to even be questioned. But that’s youth….even lots of us hung around Scoggins……but that’s no excuse!!
    And Fred I must jump your case. You told us VITF articles this year would start with a question…..and you have slipped up this week. You don’t do this much so I had to take the opportunity to bust you on this one!!!

  3. caspee says :

    First off let me say how nice it is that you too have a coach that knows what the word integrity mans. Im a ga dawg fan thru and thru, its just a good feeling when other schools do things the right way.

  4. rockytop78 says :

    We also don’t want a rush to judgment, a la the Duke lacrosse players. I’m not condoning any activity of this sort, but given the serious nature of the allegations (and the potential legal consequences), there should be a very measured investigation and response.

    There is also another dynamic here, which is (as Fred correctly notes) that UT is not a court of law; so the standard in criminal cases — innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt — doesn’t actually apply insofar as the university is concerned. The university has a student disciplinary board and judicial process available here; and while I am not that familiar with the process and proceedings, there may be a different and lower standard of proof that is required in order to punish (or expel) a student. But that may only involve violations of the code of student conduct for activities on campus, or that involve campus/school activities. If the alleged conduct took place off campus, then I’m not sure that the student judicial process would have jurisdiction to consider sanctions. (I’m just thinking out loud, so to speak.)

    Perhaps the best course of action is for Butch Jones — if, after appropriate investigation, he determines that “where there is smoke there is fire” — to decide that these players have engaged in conduct detrimental to the team and dismiss them. This would send an important message not only to the players involved, but also to the team as a whole — and to Vol Nation, as well.

    Of course, all of this begs an important question — why would a person who has the potential to be playing football on Sundays do anything to put himself in a situation where these allegations can even be made against him, and thereby jeopardize a lucrative future? Why even be in a place, or do something, where your conduct can even be questioned? Given what is at stake here — and not just for the team, but for yourself — why take the chance of throwing away your future? The mind is boggled.

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