Sims Proves Just Business As Usual At The SOW
Image Copyright Getty Images
Image Copyright Getty Images
GatorCountry.com Opinion Columnist
Posted Jul 8, 2005


Here's a real shocker for you. Ernie Sims at the School Out West gets arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge and Bobby Bowden says that he sees no reason for Sims to miss the season opener, which is the annual Wide Right Bowl against the dreaded Himmicanes who will be going after their eleventy-nine billionth straight win against the SOW.

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a teensy bit. It only seems like eleventy-nine billion times. The real number will be seven when the dust finally clears on September 3 at the Big Brick Outdoor Wrasslin, Roller Derby and Football Stadium on the campus of the Harvard of the Panhandle. It only seems like folks were wearing "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too" presidential campaign buttons the last time the Nolettes actually won one against their dratted rivals.

But I digressed. Back to the point.

Once again, the patron saint for wayward boys and convicted felons has shown that it's all about the wins, baby! Even if it was domestic battery, it's still a misdemeanor in Bobby's eyes and misdemeanors are no big deal. In a statement he made to The Little SOB (Little Son of Bob, Terry, the stunt double for the Pillsbury Doughboy and the resident clown on an Orlando radio station with the call letters WHOO), Bobby said, "This, too, shall pass."

Of course, The Little SOB, who lives in a house full of women (no sons but he had something like 40 daughters before his wife made him get a vascectomy), wouldn't push the old man and ask "Gee Pops, what if it was one of your granddaughters that had been hit?" That might be too much to expect of Mini-Me's stunt double. Some people still believe he could actually coach even though he never won a significant game with his own talent when he was at Aubrin, the bastion of athletic integrity.

Perhaps it is most appropriate that an ex-coach whose only profound insider information comes from the man he calls "Diddy," which is Alabama-speak for what normal people call "Dad," works for a radio station with those call letters. Yes, WHOO! WHOO is The Little SOB and why would anyone think that anything he has to say is significant? Anyone other than me remember The Little SOB and Snoop Dog teaming up for what was supposed to pass for humor at the Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago?

But once again, I digressed. Back to the point again.

Bobby says that he's just going to sit back and let the legal system run its course. I actually have no problem with the legal system running its course. That's a great idea and very constitutional. Considering Bobby was there as an aide to Ben Franklin when the Constitution was signed, I think it is actually commendable.

Indeed, let the legal system run its course but how about a novel idea? How about actually SUSPENDING Ernie Sims from the football team until the system actually does run its course? What kind of message does it send when there is no suspension and a public statement that a domestic battery as long as it's the misdemeanor variety doesn't merit suspension?

Ernie Sims has embarrassed the school that Einstein would have called home if only he had lived in Tallahassee and he could have found the strip mall where they hold classes. He's hit a woman, too, so where are all the women's rights activists? Why isn't there a protest that swift punitive action hasn't been taken by the former aide-de-camp who would have died with the rest of the brave men at Little Big Horn except Custer sent him back to town to order roses and chocolates for Mrs. Custer for their anniversary?

Of course, it's only a misdemeanor and we all know what Bobby thinks about misdemeanors. Think back to 1999 when we had Dillardsgate in the cultural capital of Leon County. Peter Warrick and Lavernaeous Coles were arrested for a scam with a Dillards clerk which saw them walk out of the store with hundreds of dollars of clothes after paying something like $14. This wasn't the first time that Petey had done this, just the first time he got caught.

Obviously Bobby had been reading his Bible when this event happened because he decided to use the wisdom of Solomon. For you non-Biblical scholars out there, in I Kings, Chapter 3, there was a dispute with two women over an infant with both women claiming to be the mother. King Solomon heard both women argue their points then he said, cut the baby in half and give each woman half the baby. One woman said that's a deal but the second woman cried and told the king don't hurt the baby. Rather than see her baby killed, she would rather see the child with a woman that wasn't his mother. Of course, Solomon gave the baby to its rightful mother, the one who didn't want the baby harmed.

Well, Bobby decided to cut the baby in half. He dismissed Coles from the team even though it was proven in court that Coles had simply gone along for the ride with Petey, who considered joining a monastery and changing his name to Felonious Monk after that incident changed his life.

There was a national championship at stake for the Nolettes and Bobby was trying to prove how those 20 years of working with General Black Jack Pershing had rendered him wise. In his infinite wisdom he figured that he could win a national championship with Warrick, but he needed to look tough and the media needed a fall guy. So Coles was kicked off the team.


      THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS." Once again, the patron saint for wayward boys and convicted felons has shown that it's all about the wins, baby! Even if it was domestic battery, it's still a misdemeanor in Bobby's eyes and misdemeanors are no big deal.

Bobby stated on national television that he was "praying for a misdemeanor" for Warrick and we know how treats misdemeanors. The rest of the statement told us why. Bowden further explained that "there are millions of dollars at stake here," meaning that Warrick's presence meant a shot at a national championship and all the money that would be raked in to the School Out West in the aftermath.

Nolette fans will quickly tell you that Warrick did miss a couple of games. He did but that was because was charged with grand larceny, a felony. The suspension came from higher up because a player facing felony charges is automatically suspended. If it had been up to Bobby there never would have been a suspension in the first place.

But once again, I digressed. Back to the point.

In Bobby-think, a misdemeanor certainly isn't worth missing game one against the University of New Jersey at Coral Gables. Big deal if it sends the wrong message to the community that domestic violence is tolerated. And, it isn't like there hasn't been other trouble in Tallahassee.

We have AJ Nicholson and his latest incident with the TPD when he ran from police and resisted arrest to the point that the officer had to subdue him with taser. This occurred while Nicholson, an All-ACC type linebacker, is waiting a court date for a DUI he got in the spring.

Bobby hasn't said a word about that.

And of course, we have Wyatt Sexton in a rubber room after barking at the moon in his BVDs and informing the arresting officer that he was the Almighty himself. Sexton was the starting quarterback for more than half of last season.

Bobby hasn't said a word about that either. Yet, he wakes up from summer hibernation long enough to speak to The Little SOB about Ernie Sims, whom most preseason analysts say will be a first team All-America linebacker. Talk about hypocrisy, this is it. You don't suspend or say a thing about your linebacker whose second brush with the law has him squirming in the dirt like a worm after the police take a stun gun to him but when your All-American hits a woman you say no big deal?

I am a firm believer that there are two sides to every story. I am a firm believer that the legal system must run its course. I am also a firm believer that we're all innocent until proven guilty. I believe that we all deserve our day in court.

We are well aware of a day in court in Tallahassee if you play football for the School Out West. Think Adrian McPherson here. What are the odds that a football player in Tallahassee will go to the Big House even when there is a mound of evidence against him? Does anyone with a functioning brain think McPherson DID NOT throw the NC State game back in 2002? It has been proven that McPherson bet on every Florida State game in 2002, owed a bookie thousands of dollars, stole a check from a place that gives free tires and rims to Nolette football players and then forged the owner's signature and cashed the check. Yet, Adrian McPherson walked away with charges reduced to a misdemeanor after one Tallahassee juror decided to vote no.

Once again the zealots of the School Out West will point out that McPherson got suspended from the team. See Peter Warrick. There was a felony charge so suspension was out of Bobby Bowden's hands.

But once again, I have digressed. Back to the point. Again.

I believe that when a football player on scholarship is arrested, that football player should be suspended from the team at least until the legal system runs its course. Football players are visible representatives of their universities and in spite of what Charles Barkley may say they are role models. It's easy to say that boys will be boys. What a copout that is. These young men get their education paid for in full even though a high percentage of them couldn't get in school if they were held to the same standards as the rest of the student body. They owe it to their school to stay out of trouble with the law and to be first class representatives of their university. They owe it to their school and to the fans who fork out the big bucks to support the football program to live their lives right off the field.

When Taurean Charles ran into his problems, I thought the suspension was merited until the legal system took its course. He got in trouble a second time and the suspension was continued. Two years later, when things were finalized, Taurean got to plea out to some lesser charges and he got a reduced sentence instead of a full scholarship to the Big House.

Taurean lobbied hard to get back on the team, stating his case in an interview that I did with him on the sidelines of a practice during the spring. Shortly after that interview, Taurean stated his case one last time before Jeremy Foley, Florida's athletic director, and Foley refused to reinstate him to the team. If Foley, who was privy to much more than court evidence, had agreed to reinstate Charles, I would have had no problem with that since TC was okay academically and he had already missed two full seasons because of his issues. However, Foley chose to dismiss him. I have no problem with that either. Foley made the decision based on all the evidence and he did what he felt was right.

There's a sharp contrast here to how Florida handled Charles and how they are handling Ernie Sims at the School Out West. Charles was suspended from the team until the legal system ran its course and then dismissed from the team even though his felony charges were reduced. I do not question that Jeremy Foley's final decision was the right thing. At the School Out West, after a summer of silence, Bobby Bowden finally woke from a two month power nap and said it's no big deal that his All-American was arrested for hitting a woman. After all, boys will be boys. Just business as usual for the School Out West. Meanwhile, in Gainesville, the GPD and UPD haven't arrested a single player in months.


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