The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Puzzles  |  Sports  |  Television  |  Videogames

Tiger trap

Sports blotter: "Walking in Memphis" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  August 20, 2008

Teach me, Tiger
There are a lot of famously troubled college sports programs out there, the majority of them football teams. Most of America knows that the Florida State Seminoles team, in its heyday, was once called the CrimiNoles; there isn’t a shop owner on the panhandle who wouldn’t move his finger toward the alarm button if he saw an FSU player drifting through his aisles. There were the problems with the University of Miami football team, and Maurice Clarett helped shine a light on a similar record of iniquity in the Ohio State Buckeye football program.

There are, however, some college basketball teams that have legacies of their own that are no less striking. Perhaps chief among those is the University of Memphis hoops squad, a group that has always had a reputation for, shall we say, generous academic standards, as well as a touchingly high degree of tolerance for talented ballplayers with checkered pasts. Over the years, the Memphis Tigers have seen quite a bit of trouble with the law, with some of their players continuing their unfortunate records even after leaving school and making it to the NBA.

What makes Memphis striking is that many of their arrested players are also their most prominent performers, even if their offenses are sometimes minor — as in the case of recently drafted Joey Dorsey, who was hauled in for traffic violations in 2006, or onetime Conference USA player of the year Antonio Burks, who was arrested on a failure-to-appear charge that same year. Now, the school has seen trouble hit their current squad. In fact, the team even appears to have a favorite arrest spot in downtown Memphis — the Plush Club on Beale Street. In 2007, Sean Taggert and Jeff Robinson were arrested for “inciting to riot” after a fight at the bar, and earlier this year junior forward Robert Dozier was arrested for hitting his ex-girlfriend there.

There have been numerous others, of course, but the relevant name this week is a Tiger from the past — Vincent Askew, a star for Memphis who went on to play in the NBA. On August 14, the 43-year-old Askew was arrested on felony charges as he was apparently caught soliciting sex from a 16-year-old girl in Florida. Askew, who was interviewing for a coaching job at a high school in the Miami suburb of Pinecrest, had told the girl he was recruiting players for the team. Apparently he did this bit of recruiting in a hotel room, naked.

Askew was part of one of the all-time great Tiger teams, the 1984–’85 Final Four club, now known as “Team Tragedy.” Guard Baskerville Holmes shot his girlfriend to death in 1997, then committed suicide. Backup guard Aaron Price was killed in a carjacking. Seven-foot center William Bedford, once considered a future star, is serving time on a coke rap. Coach Dana Kirk was briefly jailed on tax-evasion charges.
The sad tradition continues. Give Askew 70 points for the sex-assault charge. Stay classy, Memphis.

The QB shuffle
In other news, a pair of highly touted college quarterbacks is in hot water, leaving a couple of prime-time programs with serious question marks at the position.

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
Related: Heightened anxiety, Surprising, Revenge of the toad, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Baseball, Sports, Major League Baseball,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THROWING STRIKES  |  October 07, 2009
    For us New Englanders, Chuck Knoblauch was always kind of tough to take.
  •   WILD, WILD WEST  |  September 30, 2009
    Former Celtic Delonte West has long been known as a clutch shooter, but he's apparently taking that reputation a little too literally.
  •   CATCH A FALLING STAR  |  September 23, 2009
    There was a time, not long ago, when two things were true. The first was that the University of Miami was a perennial college-football powerhouse. The second was that Willie Williams was going to be the next big thing among college-football linebackers.
  •   LIGHTNING DOLT  |  September 16, 2009
    Outstanding story out of San Diego last week, where terrifyingly stone-headed Chargers linebacker Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman was detained by police after similarly dumb-as-crap semi-famous bisexual reality-show skank Tila Tequila accused him of choking and restraining her in his apartment after an argument.
  •   AMERICA'S SCAM  |  September 09, 2009
    What a year for former New England Patriots and the criminal-justice system!

 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group