It's an interesting quote from new Razorbacks head football coach John L. Smith:
"We have high standards for our student-athletes, and I expect them to conduct themselves appropriately. Poor conduct and misbehavior will not be tolerated and is not what we expect from the University of Arkansas football program."
The quote is interesting because it comes not after "poor conduct" or "misbehavior" by the Hogs -- I'm thinking being late for practice, starting a fight, getting drunk -- but after criminal behavior.
Whoops; forgot the "a" word -- as in alleged. Let the record so state.
Marquel Wade, Maudrecus Humphrey and Andrew Peterson are charged with sneaking into the dorm rooms of fellow students and ripping them off -- computers, textbooks, cash, whatever else they feel like grabbing.
Charged, not convicted.
On the other hand, the cops who arrested them have security video that shows the three strolling down dorm hallways, checking doors and entering rooms. A witness identified one of the three as having been in her room.
No, we're not talking master criminals here. Some of the stolen items were later found at a bookstore near campus; others were found in Peterson's room.
But speaking of high standards, as Smith was, this is just the latest incident dogging the program, which Smith recently took over from the disgraced Bobby Petrino. In early April, Tyler Gilbert was arrested and charged with taking part in an apartment break-in. In March, Jason Peacock was nabbed for allegedly using a stolen debit card. In the same month, Kane White was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.
So, the other interesting part of Smith's statement, the one about "poor conduct and misbehavior," is "[this] is not what we expect from the University of Arkansas football program."
Speak for yourself, John. From where I sit, it's what we increasingly expect.
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Ah, and what do we increasingly expect from the New Orleans Saints? How about stubbornness and bad judgment?
No, I'm not talking about Jonathan Vilma's lawsuit against the NFL -- I want to look further at that before commenting -- but about the Saints' decision to honor suspended head coach Sean Payton by leaving a seat open for him in team meetings and on the club's bus and plane rides.
The arrogance that led to the Saints a) instituting a bounty system; b) keeping it in place despite repeated warnings from the league; and c) then lying about its existence, continues still. Payton may be gone the entire season, but New Orleans is making sure he won't be forgotten.
Interim head coach Joe Vitt, who for his own role in Bountygate is facing a six-game suspension, explained the homage to Payton this way: "How would Pittsburgh react if Chuck Knoll [sic] was gone? Or how would Dallas react if Tom Landry wasn't there? Or San Francisco without Bill Walsh?"
Don't know, Joe. Noll, Landry and Walsh were never accused of paying players to injure players and then lying about it.
Still, since you and the Saints feel as strongly as you do, the empty chair seems hardly enough of a tribute to your metaphorically fallen leader. May I suggest something more fitting: a modest Air Force flyover before each home game.
Missing man formation, of course. (Hand over heart, everyone).
Contact Jim Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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