On Friday, March 11, 2011, four Auburn football players were arrested for alleged armed robbery: Mike McNeil, Shaun Kitchens, Dakota Moseley and Antonio Goodwin.
McNeil started for the national champion Tigers in 2010 at safety. Shaun Kitchens was a backup receiver who made several catches in 2010. Dakota Moseley was a highly-touted tight end who signed with Auburn and didn't play in 2010. Goodwin was also a receiver who didn't play during the Tigers' magical run.
These four players apparently held a family at gunpoint in their home and robbed them.
Each player has been charged with five counts of first degree robbery.
Or, should I say, each ex-player. The minute Auburn head coach Gene Chizik found out about this, the players were "gone like the wind."
The best-case scenario is that the four men will be given just three to five years in prison. The worst-case scenario is for them is to be given a life sentence.
The likely scenario, though, is that they will be sentenced to about 20 years in prison.
Their football careers? Over.
From now on, the only football field they'll see will be on TV.
First of all, why would you do something like this? You have your whole lives ahead of you. You have a football career in front of you. But they threw it all away.
Armed robbery is a very serious offense. There may not be a more common fear in America behind death or disease than believing that your own home is not safe.
These thugs break into their house, hold them at gunpoint and rob them?
Yes, I said it: THUGS.
The general reaction from teammates, coaches and families is shock and awe. Former players like Terrell Zachery, Zac Ethridge and Lee Ziemba couldn't believe it.
WR Philip Pierre-Louis said in a tweet he "couldn't breathe" when he heard the news. McNeil's old high school coach said he was shocked considering what a model student McNeil was while he was there.
I always believe in second chances, and all of these young guys deserve a second chance. But they don't deserve it now. Maybe in 20 years when they get out of prison, but they did the crime, so they must do the time.
Here's my message to you, college football players: Stay out of trouble!
Actually, that's my message to everybody, but in this particular case, this is directed for you football players.
You have your whole life ahead of you. Do you want to be a pro one day?
Guess what: Crime is crime. You hear your coaches preach it all the time, but it just doesn't seem to work as well as they hope it would.
Just because you play football doesn't mean you're above the law. It's the opposite.
If you break a law, don't think your status as a football player will save you. It will not.
If you break a law, don't think you're safe. You will get caught. You're lying to yourself if you say you won't.
These four guys have just thrown away their lives more than likely.
I'm a man of second chances. Everyone deserves a second chance. Cam Newton got one and succeeded. Mike Vick got one and succeeded.
These men will get their second chance...after they spend years and years in prison.