Pitino Says Jennings and Smith Will Not Miss Game Time

Posted by rtmsf on October 15th, 2009

We really shouldn’t be surprised by this stuff anymore, but we still allow ourselves to be from time to time. 

Rick Pitino said yesterday that two key contributors who were involved in an altercation with police over the weekend will not miss any game time due to their alleged transgressions.  Two expected starters, Terrence Jennings and Jerry Smith, were arrested on Saturday night for mixing it up with police at a homecoming alumni party in Jeffersonville, Indiana (across the Ohio River from Louisville).  In Jennings’ case, he was so resistant to the JPD that he was subjected to a taser – not once, but TWICE – before they finally subdued the 6’10, 230-lb forward.  Smith, a senior guard, allegedly came to his defense, refused to back off, and he too was subdued. 

jennings smith mugs

Both players were arrested and the accompanying police report recommended that each be charged with multiple counts of resisting arrest and battery.   Steven Stewart, the Clark County (IN) prosecuting attorney, had other ideas as last night he stated that they would instead each face a single misdemeanour charge of resisting arrest.  He stated:

People don’t understand that police make a recommendation in the report, but the prosecutor makes the decision what charges will be filed.

This is assuredly true, and something that many people don’t understand.  But it would have been nice if Mr. Stewart had provided a little more by way of explanation as to what mitigating factors he considered in making that decision.  In most cases, police don’t wantonly taser people to the ground (there are exceptions, of course).  And when they do it once, they usually don’t have to do it again.  Yet in the heat of the moment here, the cops felt that Jennings was so completely out of control that he needed to be subjected to extremely strong (sometimes lethal!) jolts of electricity twice.  So why would Stewart reduce the charges against someone whom the police thought was extraordinarily out of line on that night?  What on earth could it be?

steven stewart bio

We haven’t even gotten into Mr. Best Year of His Life’s sentencing techniques.  It’s understandable to a certain degree that someone in a political position such as Stewart’s must carefully navigate high-profile crimes in full view of his constituents, but what’s Pitino’s deal?  In one statement he says that “anytime you defy a police officer, it’s serious,” and in another he defends Smith’s actions by saying that “he saw a teammate [on the ground] taking some pretty good blows and tried to help.”

Speaking of serious, is Pitino serious with this hedge?  Defying a police officer is failing to move out of the way when he asks you to clear some space.  It is NOT taking haymakers at officers wearing clearly marked “POLICE” jackets, instigating a fight and causing them to use the taser on you twice (in Jennings’ case).  Furthermore, this isn’t a basketball court environment where you’re taught to defend your teammates — this is the real world.  If the cops are busily tasing your friend/teammate, you should be upset (in Smith’s case); but you should also realize that you didn’t see what led to that incident and the cops must believe it’s fairly serious (rightly or wrongly).  The smart move is to keep your head so that you can learn about what is happening and try to negotiate the heated situation – the wrong move is to refuse to back off and make the scene worse for everyone.

Well, at least they’re running lots of sprints (probably as we speak, right?).  That’ll teach ’em, Coach!

rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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10 responses to “Pitino Says Jennings and Smith Will Not Miss Game Time”

  1. Zach says:

    “Any time you defy a police officer, it’s serious,” Pitino told ESPN.com. “They will be punished and are being punished right now. But no, they will not miss game time.”

    Slick Rick never manages to top himself. Great find on the prosecutor-Louisville connection.

  2. zhayes9 says:

    Always. That should say always, not never.

  3. lawgrad says:

    So you would rather they charge every “count” of resisting? Because if you pull away from one officer with your right arm, and then again from the other officer with your left, each is a “count” they could charge you with. The prosecutor is living up to his Brandeisian-best and showing some restraint.

  4. rtmsf says:

    He’s showing restraint all right. But there were two charges recommended (multiple counts of each) by the police report. Battery as well as resisting arrest.

  5. MGA says:

    Oh look…two uneducated, tall, violent African American males. Such a rarity in college athletics. But of course Pitino will cover their asses..because he is no better himself. Next maybe they will kill a police officer.

  6. I don’t know why anyone is surprised the prosecuting attorney is a U of L graduate. The campus is less than three miles from Jeffersonville. No big scoop here.

  7. yournamehere says:

    Maybe they’ll kill a police officer? And maybe the guy who just got caught speeding will eventually get drunk in the afternoon and plow into a school bus. See, we can all be speculative douchebags.

  8. rtmsf says:

    Never said it was a scoop, Charlie. It’s just an interesting correlation is all. And remember, kids, correlation does not mean causation.

    Actually, the bigger issue for me is Pitino not even sitting them for one game (even an exh. game). Even if he’s running them to death, it shows discipline from a PR perspective to sit them down for a while.

  9. jtruman37 says:

    Not even a token 1 game, or even 3 game suspension? That’s really kind of shocking, no? If he had thrown a punch, in a game, he’d have been suspended. Had he done it twice, he’d be done for the season. & that’s even those sissy basketball punches we always seem to see. Forget behavior warranting being tazed twice. Even if Jennings didn’t see the word POLICE on the men’s shirts (& we don’t know how big the print was or how light/dark it may have been) they were probably all wearing the same t shirts, & identifying themselves as POLICE (probably over & over).

    The problem I have is that, if this kid (who may be a good kid) can get so pissed that he fights w/ cops, or so blind w/ rage that he’s not recognizing that they are cops, or felt so entitled that he could challenge the POLICE, in a crowded place. It’s like challenging your boss, in front of your coworkers. They will have to react. So it’s an actual problem, Rick.

    Another problem I have is that they were arrested. You don’t get arrested & not suspended. It doesn’t matter what the arrest is for. If had been caught w/ a pinch of weed, he would be suspended. Let alone an arrest for violent behavior. There is almost (or there should be) an obligation to punish w/ suspension, ridiculous behavior like this.

    & the other kid is guilty too. I don’t mean court room guilty, necessarily, but he certainly prevented the cops from doing their jobs. You get arrested for that. & what is the value in resisting arrest? That officially ends well 0% of the time. I can see being pissed, even mouthy, but someone getting physical w/ the cops is someone losing their self control. & that’ s justifiably punishable. The poster mentioned that this wasn’t sticking up for your buddy, on the court. This is he real world.

    So what message is Pitino sending w/ his choice of handling this.., however he’s handling it. & how is he handling it exactly? The question I have is, had this been any other year for Pitino, would these kids have been suspended? & I think the answer is yes, absolutely. It’s behavior that warrants suspension. I think what we’re seeing is Pitino feels backed into a corner by the other scandal, & feels assaulted by the world @ large, & he’s going to bunker down w/ his team & concentrate on basketball.

    Trouble is, his scandal deserved attention. His reaction to the scandal’s attention made him a clown. His players’ arrests deserve suspensions. The expression, for those of us on planet earth, has always been “When it rains, it pours”. A number of negative things happening in succession. A common occurrence. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, for Pitino, but you know what, take your lumps. Rick you’ve been very fortunate, & you’ve slipped of late. Own it. Own it & keep your mouth shut & let it pass.

    Instead Pitino has wagged his finger @ the public & the media. Invoked the war & the economy & some other ridiculous things. He’s told us this is the best year of his life. He’s not going to suspend these kids(?). Crazy. It’s hubris. Someone close to Pitino needs to grab him by the ears & shake some sense into him. Pitino is the Kanye West of the College Basketball world. @ some point Pitino has had to come across the negative reaction to his actions. He’s had to have heard somebody saying what a buffoon he’s been. Wouldn’t you just change tactics? He’s a coach, they improvise & adapt. They don’t plod along into walls.

    It is strange though. The same sort of thing can be said of Kanye West. & Roger Clemmens. & probably plenty of other celebrated people. I think it happens slowly. Everyone, for the most part, comes from humble roots. You get a taste of being coddled & it’s great. But you stay grounded. Time passes & the coddling continues. IT begins to become your reality, if you’re not careful. So your interpretation of how grounded you are skews slowly over time. & before you know it you’re acting like a spoiled little kid, holding his breath & stamping his feet.

    If Rick Pitino wants things to go back to normal he needs to get over himself & keep his mouth shut — & adequately discipline his unruly players. B/c as much as the public loves to see famous people squirm, we have a short memory. Ask Brittany Spears. We love her again, right..?

  10. rtmsf says:

    You had me rolling on this one, JTrum. Keep em coming!

    And yes, I agree with everything you said here. Hubris is likely the driving force behind this. There is absolutely no other justification for failing to suspend Jennings and Smith that makes sense. Like you said, even a token couple of games – exhibition games – would make sense and show the world that there are actual consequences to actions.

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