Saturday, January 14, 2006

Lefty, redux?

University of Maryland basketball player Travis Garrison has been charged with assault and a sex offense in connection with an incident that took place back in October, joining fellow player Chris McCray, who was also arrested last fall in connection with a College Park disturbance...

Neither player has been suspended or, as far as I can tell, disciplined in any way whatsoever by Coach Gary Williams or the athletic department.

I know Maryland basketball is on a downswing lately, having missed the NCAAs last year and having just been blown out by Duke. They have no point guard, the result of Williams having really miscalculated by not having recruited a quality point guard to take over from John Gilchrist, who was all but kicked off the team. Trying to compensate, Williams has pretty much screwed the pro prospects of DJ Strawberry who moved from his natural position as a two guard to try to play point.

But none of this is reason to lower the standards to that of a Georgetown, which pulled strings to get convicted thug Allen Iverson, or any number of other schools which sacrifice standards in order to put a more competitive team on the floor.

And I am sure that the vast majority of MD fans will have no problems cheering for an accused sexual criminal... so long as he continues to rebound and hit the middle jumper in the lane. After all, MD fans are a mix of Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens fans - teams that field Sean Taylor, currently facing felony gun charges and who was just kicked out of a playoff game and fined for spitting in the face of an opposing player, and Ray Lewis, charged in the death of two men during the Super Bowl festivities a few years back.... and the Redskins and Ravens fans cheer as hard as can be for these two thugs...

I know that Garrison has only been accused, not convicted. But playing for a major college basketball team is a privilege, not something one is entitled to do (if it were, I would been on the team). The school can suspend him or kick him off the team altogether... and the fact that they haven't is proof of their values.... their poor values.

And, just as Lefty Driesell, once the hero of College Park, found himself eventually kicked out for letting things get out of hand during his time, Gary Williams, also hailed as the savior of Maryland basketball following the disastrous tenure of affirmative action hire Bob Wade, may find himself off the sidelines before the end of his very lucrative contract.