Boy, not recruiting a running back this year is looking like an even better decision this morning, isn't it? For those of you who spent the weekend talking to their families or some such nonsense, the big news for LSU football was that Jeremy Hill was in a bar fight and allegedly, along with two other guys, beat a man into unconsciousness.
So it appears that "bar fight" has been added to LSU's offseason traditions. Here we were hoping for a nice, quiet offseason in which the biggest problem a player would face was whether they would get a passing grade in their Biology 1001 summer school class. This is, to point out the staggeringly obvious, not a good thing.
First and foremost, Les Miles needs to suspend Jeremy Hill right now. "Indefinite suspension" seems to be the going rate for getting arrested in a bar fight and frankly, Jordan Jefferson had a lot more factors in his favor than Hill. Jefferson did not have a troubled history with the law, Hill does. The Shady's incident had all sorts of immediate conflicting reports, here it seems pretty much everybody agrees on what happened. Jefferson's alleged victim walked off on his own power, Hill's did not. In every way it could be worse, Hill's incident is worse.
I'm also a big fan of innocent until proven guilty, so perhaps he doesn't need to be kicked off the team until there's a hearing, but Hill does not need to be representing the university until such time. I don't think Miles needs to kick him off the team until the facts come in, as I don't believe he needs to make a bold public statement or whatever, but he does need to punish Hill. And let's be clear, if Hill is guilty, he absolutely should be kicked off the team. Indefinite suspension is the starting point, not the end.
Unless this is all some misunderstanding, which I highly, highly doubt, then I don't really want to see Hill playing in Tiger Stadium next year. This team needs to put last year behind it is quickly as possible.
Now, I will quibble with the linked article because it equated Hill to Mathieu. I would like to list all of the times Mathieu was arrested while playing for LSU's football team:
Yeah, and LSU kicked him off the team for habitually smoking pot. That was after, count ‘em, zero arrests. I'm not aware of any other top 25 programs who have kicked a player off of the team for smoking marijuana. I certainly don't know of any who have kicked a player off for smoking pot without there being any police involvement. And certainly not of a Heisman finalist.
We're about to endure another round of "LSU is a lawless program" articles, and they will be obnoxious, but generally unfounded. All in all, most major programs have roughly the same amount of criminal behavior (as do most student bodies of major state universities) with maybe a few outliers on the extremes. A program should be judged not by a player committing a crime, ut how they respond to it.
I know Georgia players getting arrested is like a cottage industry for the Athens police. But does this mean Georgia is a lawless program? Of course not. Instead of sweeping it under the rug and pretending nothing ever happens, Richt usually has acted decisively to appropriately discipline players or kick them out of his program. He's not responsible for what they do, he's responsible for what UGA football does after the fact.
That's the standard by which Les Miles should be judged right now. No sweeping this under the rug. No trying to protect the player just because he is a really, really good running back. That doesn't matter now. Hill needs to be suspended as soon as possible. After investigation, if Hill is guilty, he needs to be kicked off the team. We should not hesitate or make excuses.
Playing football is not a pass to break the law. Jeremy Hill is already on his second chance, he does not deserve a third one just because he can run fast.