This past week, we snared an early candidate for the next Justin Miller Award, given to the athlete who most bollockses up his professional-draft status with an avoidable pre-draft arrest. Typically we like to give this award to someone who gets popped within two months of the draft, but that doesn’t happen every year. Sometimes we have to reach back a little further.
Therefore, University of Kansas hoopster Brandon Rush gets JMA consideration after he ended up spending an hour in jail thanks to two failure-to-appear warrants, both stemming from traffic violations. This just a few weeks after Blake Young, a star for cross-state rival K-State, was jailed for failing to appear on his own traffic warrant. Rush had originally been pulled over in his big-ass SUV (even the college jocks have ’em) and found to be without proof of insurance. He ignored a summons and then ignored a speeding fine (he got caught driving 49 in a 35-mph zone). A month or so later, Rush was dragged to jail by a humorless Kansan judge.
Two things here. One, someone has to do something about the fines they dole out for victimless traffic violations. Asking a kid who’s 19 or 20 years old to come up with $260 just because he left his insurance card at home is ridiculous. So is another $200 or whatever for going 14 miles an hour above the limit. These are backdoor taxes and should be banned. Two, apparently all of Kansas agrees with me. The funniest thing about the Rush story has to be the comments left by KU fans on the Kansas City Star Web site. My favorite was posted by “Concerned KU Fan”:
Thank you to whatever booster gave Brandon the money to pay his bond! Isn’t there a booster in Lawrence that’s friends with Judge Randy McGrath and can make this go away? Come on now, this is freaking KU and Brandon Rush. He shouldn’t have to worry about this crap! Take care of him boosters! He needs to focus on basketball and F-ing the Hooooeees . . . oh, and going to school.
Rush, meanwhile, was a borderline first-round prospect in this past year’s NBA draft who decided late in the game to go back to school. He should sniff the lottery this year. Give him -3 points, however, for this non-crime that still might drop him a spot or two.
The explanation given to police by Arkansas State hoopster Adrian Banks — after he was pulled over for shooting a gun out the window of a moving car — was one of the more creative we’ve heard in a long time.
“A fight was breaking out at the club,” said Banks, who had been at the Envisions nightclub in Jonesboro. “I found the gun on the ground and didn’t want anyone to get shot, so I shot the gun until it was empty.”
Quick thinking, Adrian! Wonder if Arkansas cops will buy that story.
They might, of course, because Banks is A-State’s leading scorer, averaging a healthy 21.7 points a game this year. Look for this one to go away somehow.
Still, this is about a 45-pointer to me; you can’t get less than 40 for discharging a handgun anywhere but at a cactus preserve.
Here’s something we don’t see very often: the phrase officer-involved shooting lurking near the lead of a story about a football player getting arrested. Normally, football players are shooting either at their girlfriends or at a wisecracking stranger in the parking lot of an Atlanta strip club. But at cops?
But it seems that Nathaniel Porter, 21, a player for the College of Sequoias (a small California junior college that nonetheless has produced players who’ve made the leap to bigger programs, including, most recently, Ole Miss QB Brent Schaffer), was involved in a carjacking this past week. He and another young man apparently stole a car at gunpoint at a gas station in Visalia, California, and fled the scene, only to end up in a firefight with a pair of CHPs.
One wonders exactly what a guy like this thinks the endgame is here. Like the situation is going to improve once you start shooting at cops on the highway? Amazing. In any case, this wasn’t Porter’s first brush with the law. Earlier this year he was arrested (though charges were never filed) for assault after he and another player, Omar Bryant (who was charged), allegedly beat a man, sending him to the hospital. Bryant and Porter believed, apparently mistakenly, that the man had assaulted a teammate.
The college’s president, Bill Scroggins, wasted no time telling the media that Porter was finished. “He was sort of on the edge with us, and with this incident, he’s suspended from any activities with the team,” said Scroggins. Porter now faces up to 30 years for attempted murder. That makes his one of the most serious sports crimes this year, for sure. Give him 90 points. And give the college a few for leaving this guy on the team after he allegedly kicked a guy into unconsciousness earlier this year.