Monday, November 16, 2009

Kiffin Cuts Richardson and Edwards

As a University of Tennessee alum and football fan, I was embarrassed and angry last week when learning that three players, Nu'Keese Richardson, Mike Edwards, and Janzen Jackson, had been arrested for attempted armed robbery. I often say that my blood runs "Big Orange." I had hoped that the off-field behavior problems which plaqued the team during the Fulmer Regime were over with the hiring of Lane Kiffin. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The last few years of Phil Fulmer's administration saw numerous players get into trouble with the law. Unfortunately, in most cases all Fulmer did was slap them on the wrist by suspending the guilty parties for a quarter or a half of a game. What a joke. His non-existent discipline measures ultimately led to his downfall. The lack of discipline off the football field led to no discipline on the field and was evidenced by numerous false start, holding, and personal foul penalties. Penalties which led to numerous losses to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn. All of these elements compounded together ultimately cost him his job. In my opinion, it took UT too long to boot him.

Until last week, I was extremely proud of the UT football program this year. When Fulmer left, many players jumped ship which left the team young and inexperienced. Kiffin, however, managed to pull the team together and they have fought and scrapped and been in every game they played this year up until Saturday. Plus, there had been no significant discipline problems. Heck, they took #1 Alabama down to the last play of the game before losing and only lost to Florida, who was ranked #1 at the time, by 10 in the Swamp. Unfortunately, the arrests of their teammates last week was a distraction and they were whipped by Mississippi 41-17.

The team is 5-5 heading into the last two regular season games and have hopes of going to a bowl if they win out. However, I think there is a much bigger issue Coach Kiffin needs to deal with for the long-term good of the team and the university. His dismissal from the team of Richardson and Edwards today as a result of their arrests is a step in the right direction. He is still gathering information about the incident before deciding on Jackson. I believe he needs to do more, such as requiring the following of the current team and any future recruits :
  1. Anyone who plays football at UT must give 110% on the field and in the classroom. 
  2. Anyone who plays football at UT must graduate.
  3. Set a curfew. Richardson, Edwards, and Jackson were allegedly at the scene of the crime at 1:43 a.m. on a weeknight. Why were they not in their dorm room ??
  4. Anyone who plays football at UT must obey the law and act like a gentleman.
  5. Anyone who plays football at UT and fails to do #'s 1,2,3, and 4 is booted from the team - period.
  6. Plus, if someone who plays football at UT gets booted from the team, Coach needs to do everything in his power to keep them from playing in the NFL.
These will not be popular. However, I believe it's high time we as a nation refuse to let people be thugs and criminals simply because they are athletes, politicians, or other so-called "important people." Morals, ethics, and the rule of law are still important whether the media and other bleeding hearts think so or not. This is the lesson that Coach Kiffin must teach the young men he coaches and his handling of this incident is his biggest test so far. The result is more important than beating Florida or Alabama or even winning a championship, and I'm praying he gets it right.
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1 comment:

Dale said...

I was glad to see two of the "hoods" dismissed from the team. there seems to be a question about the third but I have confidence that the staff will do the right thing. The problem is that the new "high school heros" didn't get the message that is a new sherrif in town. I doubt there will be a repeat after this action. Under Fulmer they would have played on Saturday while he was "LOOKING INTO THE SITUATOIN". Still stand by it, -- UT will be a contender for the national championship by 2012.

da ole biker Dale -- enjoying a Recycled Life -- Thanks Taylor
Recycle Life - Eliminate death waiting for an organ.