A week ago a commenter mentioned that Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators have been in far more legal trouble than Miami lately. Turns out, he was dead right. While we’re not ready to wash any of the stain off “The U” yet, the defending national champs have had some serious offseason legal issues. And they just keep getting worse.
Two University of Florida athletes were suspended indefinitely Tuesday after each was arrested and charged with a felony after being caught in a drug sting. Brandon James, a sophomore running back, and Brandon Powell, a sophomore guard on the basketball team, were charged with felony purchase of narcotics and misdemeanor possession of narcotics. They were both arrested Monday night in Gainesville. That means no fewer than seven Gator football players have run afoul of the law since the Jan. 8 national-title win over Ohio State.
Here’s a roundup of some of the recent legal problems for the Gators:
- Guard Ronnie Wilson was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for an April incident involving a gun in a parking lot near campus. Wilson was suspended indefinitely.
- Safety Dorian Munroe and the aforementioned James have each faced felony charges within the past three weeks. Munroe was charged with theft for removing a University Police Department boot from his car and putting it in his trunk.
- Cornerback Jacques Rickerson was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The case was later resolved without legal punishment.
- Safety John Curtis faces misdemeanor charges for a probation violation.
- Linebacker Dustin Doe was charged with misdemeanor affray (I have no idea what that means, but I think it’s like disturbing the peace). The charges against Doe were later dropped.
- Safety Jamar Hornsby had a complaint filed against him after he “allegedly” threw a man onto the hood of a car in a Gainesville parking lot.
The problem with all these legal issues is that it isn’t the first time Urban Meyer’s boys have run a bit wild; here’s a list of problems from 2006:
- Wide receiver Kenneth Tookes discharged a gun into an occupied apartment while three other current and former Gator players were with him.
- The above mentioned John Curtis was charged with possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor and sentenced to five days of community service, which he failed to do. A warrant was later issued for his arrest and not executed until four months later (conveniently after spring practice).
- Receiver Louis Murphy was charged with marijuana possession.
- Starting defensive tackle Marcus Thomas was kicked off the team last season after he failed three (THREE?!?!) drug tests.
Now I’m not sure about this, but I think if the Gators incur two more felony charges, the entire roster officially becomes the property of the Bengals.
Now, look, I know this isn’t all Urban’s fault, and sure, teams that win national titles often have players who feel they are above the law, but this is an alarming trend. It’s not what they are doing; it’s how many of them are doing it. Hopefully the culture of crime that surrounded the University of Miami in the late 80s/early 90s doesn’t make its way to Gainesville, but right now it doesn’t look good. Meyer should act swiftly and make an example of some of these guys. He has enough talent that losing a few guys won’t decimate his roster and might convince some of the kids to straighten up.
Let’s just all pray Tim Tebow doesn’t try to “make it rain” before the Gators Sept. 1 opener against Western Kentucky.
*UPDATE: I have received an email stating that kicker Jonathan Phillips (again, no relation) was not, in fact, arrested for providing alcohol to a minor or producing false identification.