Late February is a heavy-arrest period in American sports, for the simple reason that the college-football season is over, spring practices have not yet begun, and they have not yet deployed armed alcohol-sniffing police robots on college campuses around the nation. There is a parallel season in May/June — the period between mini-camps and training camp that sees newly drafted NFL rookies spending their checks for the first time. But for sheer random mayhem caused by a lot of juiced-up 19 year olds running wild without supervision, late February is about as bad as it gets. This year has been no exception.
First, let's get the DUI and possession charges out of the way. West Virginia University saw receiver Jock Sanders — great name — busted for a DUI after blowing a .125 this past weekend. He was stopped for going just 36 in a 25-mph zone — which tells you what it's like to be a black athlete in a hick state like West Virginia.
Then you had Oklahoma State wideout Bo Bowling, who got himself suspended from the Cowboys squad this past week after police arrested him with 100-plus grams of weed, a bunch of baggies, a digital scale, and a quantity of personal-use Xanax. All this was found with the help of a 4 am search warrant, which means the cops were actually investigating the guy — not a good sign. Bowling was slapped with possession with intent to distribute, simple possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Can't have a college-football arrest roundup without a Florida State wideout, can we? How about Preston Parker, who was busted for a highly unusual DUI: he got stoned, got the munchies, drove to McDonald's, and fell asleep in the drive-thru lane. Cops in Tallahassee woke him up — the car was still in drive when he was caught and the car apparently went forward as he roused — and he admitted to drinking and smoking the herb. This is Parker's third arrest since arriving on campus, and the second involving drugs. What a run: the kid earns team MVP honors after his sophomore season, and gets kicked out of school a year later. Sad.
Not enough for you yet? How about Willie Jefferson, not technically in college yet, but set to play for Baylor in the fall. Jefferson is a high-school star hailing from Beaumont, Texas; a 6-7 wide receiver with breakaway speed and, now, a weed record. He was pulled over for running a stop sign and, upon exiting the car, police noticed a "green leafy substance" on his pants. A subsequent search revealed a bunch of blunts hidden under a floorboard.
And that's just the wide receivers. There was a whole mess of other guys hauled in for DUIs in recent weeks, including BYU star linebacker recruit Kyle Van Noy (Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that, as punishment, Van Noy won't be allowed to join the team until 2010), Oklahoma basketball player Ray Willis (fun fact: in September 2008, Willis was stabbed and suffered a partially collapsed lung during a fight that involved guns, knives, and tire irons), and San Diego Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams — they can't all be college guys, can they?
Here's an ugly story. Hawaii cornerback JoPierre Davis has been arrested on some pretty serious charges: one count of second-degree sexual assault, two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, one count each of second- and third-degree assault, burglary, and promotion of a "detrimental drug."
Police aren't saying much, but essentially Davis is being accused of sexually assaulting the same woman in two separate incidents. Back in September, he is said to have raped and robbed the woman after entering her room. Now he's charged with assaulting her again, as well as physically assaulting a 26-year-old man on the same day, in Waikiki.
Davis was suspended from the team, and remains in custody as of press time, but there aren't many other details as of yet. More to come.
When he's not googling "excessive-celebration penalty" and "the Rainbow connection," Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.