Beaver Player Arrested, Tased, Naked; But Aren't The Ducks The Bad Guys?
Oregon and Oregon State are both expected to contend for the Pac-10 Title this season and both have seen players run afoul with the law during the offseason.
Jeremiah Masoli went completely AWOL, LaMichael James plead to a misdemeanor harassment charge and those are just the two biggest names.
At OSU, QB Peter Lalich was dismissed in relation to his arrest for driving a boat under the influence, Brennan Olander was convicted of a theft charge and also involved in a golf cart theft that ended in a crash with Lyle Moevao and Keaton Kristick, and again, those are just the biggest names.
And now this: Tyler Thomas arrested and tased inside the home of a Corvallis woman, apparently drunk and completely out of his mind...and naked.
Nothing about the media coverage the two have received has been equal. The Ducks have been vilified and mocked in the media while the incidents at OSU have either been chalked up to "boys being boys" or overlooked completely. But this latest case is so unusual and alarming that neither response applies.
The Oregonian's John Hunt wrote up a "rap sheet", even though some of the players he lists never faced any kind of criminal charges.
Legarette Blount's punch of Byron Hout, as embarrassing as it was for Blount and the program, was never considered a candidate for legal action; Jamere Holland being dismissed for a history of poor work ethic that came to a breaking point with his inflammatory Facebook post is also irresponsibly thrown in with criminal charges and citations.
Is putting your coach on blast via F-Book a solid plan? No. But does it belong on a list with guys facing criminal charges? That one answers itself.
The snarky tone of the article and inclusion of guys like Holland and Blount were typical of the coverage of the Ducks offseason.
The strangest thing about the difference in coverage is the view that somehow Mike Riley has acted far more decisively and appropriately than Chip Kelly when faced with players who get in trouble.
Kelly has been criticized repeatedly for basing his decisions on a players role on the team rather than his transgressions.
Sure, Kelly would dismiss Matt Simms; he's a walk-on that probably never would have helped the Ducks even if he hadn't punched a guy he mistakenly believed was involved in the Beard-Bowlin brawl.
But he merely sat LaMichael James for a game for his altercation with a former girlfriend that resulted in a guilty plea to physical harassment. He booted Holland and Embry, two guys who looked like they were more potential than player; but gave Jeremiah Masoli numerous chances before finally sending him packing.
Riley has had an alarmingly similar response, as long as we're looking at it that way...
He booted Lalich for the BUI, but Lalich had faded to Ryan Katz and was not going to start at quarterback for OSU. He removed Thomas for the trespass and resisting arrest, but Thomas was just a redshirt freshman and not exactly a difference maker this season.
But instead of a rap sheet, Riley "hands out discipline". Oh yeah, Olander was also cited in 2008 for marijuana possession, just like Jeremiah Masoli was earlier this year.
Masoli was booted for the marijuana possession and for lying to Kelly about staying out of trouble.
Riley, meanwhile, must not think the pattern of behavior is anything to be worried about for Olander, who was handed down no punishment other than to complete the community service the court ordered before he could practice.
Olander was a starter in 2009 and gives the Beavers an experienced big body to team with Stehen Paea in the middle of the defense. In fact, some think with him the Beavs are in "Great Shape" at the position entering 2010...interesting...
Because Mike Riley has not yet been accused of losing control the way Kelly was.
Not even when he's had multiple guys get MIP's, had theft charges, a DUI, and resisting arrest charges against players or players who were dismissed resulting from those charges.
Not even when a guy breaks into a woman's house and is found upstairs naked and so drunk he actually got into a three-point stance before he rushed the cops who responded. Instead Riley gets credit because he "got this one right".
Really? Did he? I would hope so, because this one was a no-brainer.
Take it for what it's worth.
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