Oregon’s football program has had, well, they’ve had a tough offseason. Since winning the Pac-10 and heading to the Rose Bowl The Ducks have made headlines of all the wrong kind.
Here’s a quick recap of Oregon’s “legal problems” since the Rose Bowl:
- On January 24, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and receiver Garrett Embry were accused of stealing two laptop computers and a guitar from a fraternity house.
- That same night in a separate incident kickers Mike Bowland and Rob Beard were injured in a brawl.
- On January 30, defensive end Matt Simms was involved in another fight.
- On February 15 star running back LaMichael James was arrested and spent two nights in jail on charges stemming from a domestic abuse complaint. James reportedly strangled and attacked his girlfriend.
- On February 21, linebacker Kristian Kiko Alonso was arrested for driving while uninsured and for being a minor in possession of alcohol.
- Almost immediately following that incident, wide receiver Jamere Holland was dismissed from the team after posting racist comments on his facebook page.
The point of all this is that Masoli and James both have big days coming up on Friday. Both players will make separate appearances in court tomorrow. Masoli is now charged with second-degree burglary, which is a felony. James will change his plea of “not guilty” on the strangulation and fourth-degree assault charges on Friday afternoon. Chip Kelly has also said he’ll render a verdict on each player’s future by the weekend.
Without James and Masoli, Oregon’s hopes for a successful season in 2010 would be all but gone. Regardless of whether or not either player is guilty of the incidents in question, they clearly displayed bad judgment in putting themselves in awful situations.
Kelly had the right idea when he booted LeGarrette Blount off the Oregon roster for his actions at Boise State. Then he went back on that decision. ESPN’s Bruce Feldman thinks Kelly will do the right thing and boot both Masoli and James off the team for good. I disagree. Nothing against Kelly or anything, I’m sure he’s a swell guy, but he also likes winning. Dumping Masoli turns 2010 into a waste.
I’m sensing Kelly will go with indefinite suspensions for both players and they’ll be brought back shortly before Fall Camp.
Hey, Kelly could prove me wrong – heck I hope he does – but allowing either of these guys to stay on the team sends the wrong message. Football ability shouldn’t determine whether these two guys are playing next fall.