It's been a tumultuous month for Montee Ball and the Wisconsin Badgers, to say the least. the Heisman hopeful was attacked by a gang of five men on August 2 on the streets of Madison late at night, and the concussion he received as a result has kept him from being cleared for contact to this day.
The police, understandably, have been unamused by this development, and although we know the what, the when and the where, the hunt has been on for the who, why and how. And according to comments made by Bret Bielema on Jim Rome's radio show on Thursday, we're very close to a resolution on all that.
"It didn't involve Montee in any way," Bielema said. "Two of my other players were involved. I've taken some actions with them and kind of let that be what it is. ... Again, Montee wasn't involved in any way, shape or form with that."
"There was a situation where a couple of our guys — not a couple, probably 15 to 20 of our guys — were at some type of gathering and something briefly went down," Bielema said.
Bielema said police have talked to the five people they believe attacked Ball in the early morning hours Aug. 1 as he walked back to his apartment after going out for a couple of hours with friends.
With police identifying the five people they believe were involved in the attack on Ball, Bielema said, he hopes the matter can be resolved with no further issues.
If what Bielema is saying is true—and it's generally wise to take people at their word until there's a good reason not to—then this essentially squares both the reports of a fight precipitating the attack on Ball and Ball's statement that he wasn't involved in any fight.
We don't know what the punishment is that the two unnamed players got as a result of this fight, but it's safe to assume that Bielema has made it clear to them that their tempers got the Badgers' best player jumped and hospitalized. This is on them.
And that's just another reminder that the consequences of being a college football player are so far beyond what the vast majority of college students deal with. If Johnny Undergrad runs his mouth to the wrong person and gets himself—or his friend, Business School Barry—kicked in the head a few times, yeah, that's bad for them. But the negative fallout pretty much ends there.
But if Johnny Undergrad is a football player, and his friend is actually Montee Freaking Ball, then if there are any lasting health issues with that concussion, all of a sudden Ball's Heisman campaign suffers, Wisconsin football suffers and the entire school's public standing suffers. Football does play that role. That's just how it works with schools these days.
At any rate, though, it looks like this is all just about over, and with no more football players getting jumped. So that's nice. And at the very least, according to Bielema, Ball's at least doing enough in practice to keep impressing NFL scouts, so as soon as that green no-contact jersey can come off, rest assured that it will.
And let's hope this is the last time a couple punk football players get their best player jumped.