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3 UT Vol Footballers Charged With Attempted Armed Robery
I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Less than 24 hours after University of Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin made the statement that he had been head coach for over 11 months with no arrests, 3 UT arrests were made. Ouch. (Kiffin also recently stated that one of the reasons he and his coaching staff make so much money is because they keep the players out of trouble...wonder if they'll take a pay cut now lol)
Early morning of November 12, 2009 Nu'Keese Richardson, Janzen Jackson, and Mike Edwards were arrested for attempted armed robbery. The driver of the car, a Toyota Prius (real gangsta), was also arrested. The three players are all freshman that were recruited by Lane Kiffin, and have all seen playing time this season.
What they allegedly done: Early this morning at the Pilot on the Cumberland Strip, one of the players opened the driver door of a couple of young men, pulled a gun, and demanded money. Another player made the same demand through the passenger door. The young men stated they had no cash and showed their empty wallets. The last player, who is believed to have originally been inside came by and stated they had to get out of there.
Shortly after, Knoxville Police pulled over the Prius that matched the description. Driving the car was UT student Marie Montmarquet, age 22. Accompanying her was the aforementioned UT players. Also discovered in the car was two black hoodies, a Air Soft pellet gun, and a marijuana grinder. A search of Montmarquet revealed a small bag of weed.
All four have been charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery. Montmarquet has also been hit with drug paraphernalia and simple possession charges. As of the time of this writing, Jackson and Edwards have been released from custody. Jackson was released under his own recognition and Edwards made bail.
Nu'Keese Richardson was a up & coming star wide receiver. He had received some playing time and even caught a touchdown last week against state rival Memphis. He was being used as a recruiting token, showing high school seniors that if they came to Tennessee, they had the possiblity of seeing some action on Saturdays even as freshman. Richardson was also the recruit involved in the Kiffin-Urban Meyer saga where Kiffin accused Meyer of cheating. It's widely accepted in Knoxville that Lane stole Richardson from the University of Florida.
Janzen Jackson was also a hot commodity at UT. He was the team's starting Safety. As a recruit, he was touted as having the size and strenght of a safety and the speed of a corner back. Originally committed to LSU, he changed his mind in January of 2009 to come to play for the highly amped up Tennessee coaching staff. Jackson seemed to be a sure bet to replace the All-American Eric Berry when he leaves for the NFL.
Mike Edwards, also a freshman, was a highly productive member of special teams as a starter.
My 2 Cents
Well this is America and people are, in theory, innocent until proven guilty. Even with that being said, it still doesn't look good for these guys. Even if charges are dropped, which is possible in Knoxville (things tend to get swept under the rug when it comes to UT athletes), these guys have most likely taken their last walk onto the grass of Neyland Stadium. What they done was beyond stupid. They threw away one of the greatest opportunities a college kid could ever dream of. All three, especially Richardson and Jackson, had almost a guarenteed shot at millions in the NFL.
These guys have not only let their coaches and families down, they have also let down the fans. I'm sure these guys are under a lot of pressure from all the attention, but that gives them no excuse for going out and pulling some stunt like this. And if you really think about it, they got lucky. This is, afterall, the great state of Tennessee and a lot of people carry permitted handguns all the time. They quite possibly could've stuck that pellet gun into the wrong car and been welcomed by hot lead from a real gun. We would be reading about a kid who done something dumb and got killed instead of doing something dumb and going to jail.
Oddly, I saw a handful of people taking the side of these players on some local message boards because they play football and don't get paid. WHAT!? These guys were pretty much guaranteed millions in 2-3 years, how many college students can say that? Granted they don't receive a small paycheck every two weeks like the rest of the college students who bust their ass working their way through school, but lets look at what they do get:
- Free Tuition* - In-state tuition at UTK is $6,250 a year, but out of state tuition, which these guys would need, is $19,208 a year. Four years of that and they are already $76,832 dollars plus interest in student loan debt.
- Free textbooks - averages out to about $1,326 a year.
- Free Room & Board - $6,888 a year
- Four year total: $109,688. Wow, they have it rough, playing a game for a measly $27,422 a year. How many college students you know that make that while working that crappy job they've got?
- Now lets contemplate all the extras these poor guys get playing football at UT: flying first class across the country to play a game, chartered buses to any games that may be local, getting shown on national television about 8-10 Saturdays a year, not to mention the additional coverage from SportsCenter, ESPNews, and all the other sports programming out there, not having to show up in person to classes (don't let the coaches fool you, why do you think these players have tutors?), those nice new cars & SUV's with dealer tags that people see the players riding around campus in all the time, and no telling how many more perks that haven't been seen yet.
*Tuition amounts are taken from UTK's official website.
I love UT, I love watching UT Football, but I do not approve of this and am extremely disappointed. I started this season being pumped about the future of the Vols, namely Nu'Keese Richardson. He had the potential to be a university legend, if not NFL great. Now we'll never know because he screwed up a golden opportunity that most high school atheletes would give their right testicle for. It's a shame.