Too much shake
When football scouts describe running backs, they like to talk about a back's "shake": his ability to make tacklers miss in the hole. Some guys, like Barry Sanders or Darren Sproles, have all the shake you need and more. Others, like our own Laurence Maroney, do not, and prefer to run straight into big piles of guys and fall down. Each has his own style.
Dave Meggett, back in his playing days, had plenty of shake. There were few guys in the league who were better at turning a tackle-for-loss five yards deep in the backfield into an eight-yard gain. Linebackers who dove at Meggett back then very often came up with nothing between their arms but air.
Local smart guy Bill Belichick loved Meggett, which is no surprise, because he was a hell of a football player. But sometimes a guy can have a little too much shake, if you know what we mean. Like when the police go to put him in jail for sexual battery, and he somehow ends up with no time and just two years of probation. Or when he then gets arrested for rape while out on said probation, and still doesn't get thrown in jail — leaving him free to commit yet another rape.
This is a sordid story involving an ex-Patriot, and it's a classic example of what happens when a famous athlete gets one too many breaks.
Meggett, a little fire hydrant of a guy just barely 5-8, has a long, long history of sexual weirdness. In 1990, as a New York Giant, he was arrested for a run-of-the-mill pandering charge, soliciting sex from an undercover officer in Baltimore. Eight years later, as a Patriot, he was arrested in Toronto (what is it with Patriots and Toronto, eh, Ty Law?) for allegedly assaulting a prostitute after a three-way. He avoided jail, but the incident was enough for Bob Kraft, and the Pats dropped him, ending his NFL career.
Fast forward to 2006, when Meggett was arrested for sexual assault in North Carolina. That charge got knocked down to sexual battery before trial, and in the end Meggett was sentenced to just two years probation, which he was allowed to serve in South Carolina — highly unusual for a repeat sex offender. Think being a local football star (Meggett played high-school ball in Charleston) had anything to do with that?
Then, in September 2008, just as Meggett was approaching the end of his probation sentence, he was accused of rape by a 17-year-old girl who says she knew him as "Michael." Meggett was out on bail for that latest charge when he got frisky yet again this past week. A 21-year-old North Charleston woman told police she woke to find Meggett sitting on her bed, asking her for $200 she owed him. The girl, who knew Meggett as "Mike," said she'd pay later. Meggett — channeling notorious sports criminal Cecil "The Diesel" Collins — freaked out and allegedly raped her. After it was over, he is said to have stood by her window, apologized, and told her not to worry about the $200.
When the girl went to the hospital, "Mike" called her cell phone offering — amazingly — to pick her up. Police told the girl to have him come in. He did, and cops at that point discovered who "Mike" really was. A supremely ugly story all around, and one that never would have been allowed to happen if Meggett was not a famous athlete catching breaks by enablers all along the way. Ninety points for this early candidate for Skell of the Year.
Meanwhile, in the brief space I have left in this column, let me update readers about Josh Jarboe, the first-year Troy University wideout who became an ACLU-ish cause célèbre in 2008 after Oklahoma dismissed him before his freshman season for posting a profanity-laden rap video on the Internet. In March 2008, while still in high school, Jarboe was arrested after an assistant principal saw him take a gun out of his car. Now, he's been picked up by campus police and charged with misdemeanor harassment. No details were available at press time, but Jarboe was arrested in a dining hall, so it was probably some dumb college thing. Give him eight points, and let's see if Troy axes him. And kudos to any athlete who can get bounced from two schools before he finishes his redshirt year. ^
When he's not googling "don't wanna be like 'Mike' " and "Trojan farce," Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.