Update: Three Alabama players banned from campus
However, a Nick Saban team rarely makes headlines for a negative reason. This happens to be one of those unique occasions.
Earlier today, the website of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office reported that cornerback Eddie Williams, defensive lineman D.J. Pettway, linebacker Tyler Hayes and running back Brent Calloway were arrested on Monday on charges of second-degree robbery.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, Williams was charged with second-degree robbery and fraudulent use of a credit/debit card as the result of two separate incidents that allegedly involved the beating and robbing of two Alabama students.
Hayes and Pettway were charged with second-degree robbery, while Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card.
As of this afternoon, Saban has suspended all four players indefinitely, but his comments lean toward further punishment.
"The young men charged are indefinitely suspended as we continue to gather information and talk to the appropriate people," Saban said in a news release. "The University and football program have strict guidelines regarding issues of this magnitude. This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program."
I believe this is the right move for Saban at this time. While these players are suspended, he can take the time to research the situation as thoroughly as possible before making the decision to release them from the team.
It’s a privilege to play collegiate sports, yet alone for the Alabama football program. To put that ability in jeopardy is downright ignorant – and I’m sure Saban has made that very clear over the years.
If these charges stand true, there’s no doubt in my mind that all four players will be booted from the team. Judging from other recent incidents around the country (ill-advised tweets, being gay, breaking “team rules”), this is obviously enough to earn a one-way trip out.
Time will tell. And there’s a lot of that from now until fall.
UPDATE: Williams, Hayes and Pettway were banned from campus as of Friday morning. Calloway remains suspended indefinitely.