Monday, November 2, 2009
I wouldn't have expected Deebo to be able frame Mbakwe quite so well, but Joel "I'm a fantastically huge pussy" Maturi has decided that Mbakwe will be held out of the team's games until "the matter is "fully resolved."
He can still practice with the team, be part of the team, and attend classes, but won't be able to play in any games or travel to any away games. All of which means is that this isn't really a punishment, it's nothing more than Maturi covering his own ass, for what reason I can't understand.
First of all, it appears to me at least that Trevor is almost certainly going to be cleared of this. Not only does he have handfuls of witnesses who can place him away from the scene when this happened, but everybody knows all black people look alike so this is probably going to end up being a case of mistaken identity. To the best of my knowledge, the entire body of evidence against him is simply one woman's identification, made not long after she was assaulted so who knows her state of mind. Additionally, eye witness testimony, even identifications, are notoriously spotty. Given this, I'm surprised they are actually taking this to trial at all, and even more surprised Maturi would hold him out. When Michigan State is in town I think I'm going to punch Mrs. W in the face, then have her tell the cops Raymar Morgan did it.
Secondly, he says he believes it is both in Mbakwe's and the University's best interests to hold him out. What? How does that make any sense? This isn't remotely in Mbakwe's best interests. He's here to play basketball. Now he can't play basketball. And how is this doing anything good for the school? How does holding him out do anything at all? Because if he plays, and is then found guilty and can't play anymore it will disrupt the team? That happens to every team every year because of injury. You know what they do? They take the guy's back up and make him the starter, which is now what Maturi is forcing Tubby to do prematurely. I also think we should probably hold out Damian Johnson and Ralph Sampson, too. Just in case they were going to get hurt this year. We don't want to disrupt the team.
Lastly, whatever happened to Innocent until proven guilty? I know this isn't a court of law, but does that mean we can/should suspend due process? Honestly, I'm completely baffled by this whole thing.
There are two questions I have, the answers to which might make this make sense:
1) Is there more information in the assault than I know about? Any physical evidence, a witness to the attack, or any reason to believe the plethora of witnesses who can alibi Mbwake are lying? Any real ironclad reason to think he's guilty?
2) Is there some penalty to the school/team if a player is found guilty of assault and you didn't "hold them out of games." Like, say Mbakwe plays in ten games, gets convicted, and kicked off the team - would the Gophers have to forfeit those games, lose scholarships, or be denied post season berths? Not to my knowledge, which is why, again, I question how this is "protecting the University."
Most of the people I see agreeing with the decision are saying things like "it sends the right message" or "it's the right call." My question is, why? What is the message? Wouldn't a better message be "we believe in our student/athletes", "we trust our players", or "we're behind you 100%"? Maybe I'm way off here, I don't know. Gopher Nation from The Daily Gopher disagrees with me, and plenty of other people do too. I just think this is incredibly unfair to Mbakwe, and incredibly disappointing by Maturi.