You were expecting a Link Gumbo this morning? The saga of The First Great Shady's Fisticuffs Caper of 2011 has taken some wild turns over the last few days and now that it appears we may have a slight break in developments, I think it's time we get everybody on the same page and update those who've missed out.
Before we begin, you'll notice that many of the links below go to work by Randy Rosetta on either TigerSportsDigest.com or his twitter feed. For many of the odd turns in this story, like the erroneous SportsNola report about Jefferson and other's being arrested, Rosetta has been the first one to call the BRPD and the attorneys to get official clarification. We dog certain reporters that we don't like around here often, so it's important that we also recognize great work when we see it.
What We Know
Thursday night, after the end of the 2nd full scrimmage of the fall, all LSU football players were accounted for in their rooms at a 10:30pm curfew. With the next day scheduled off, a large group of players decided to break curfew and some of them went to Shady's, a bar on East Boyd, just south of campus. Sometime in the early hours Friday, a driver who was trying to leave the parking lot honked his horn at a crowd of people in his way. At this point a fight broke out in the parking lot, leaving 4 victims. While EMS on the scene did look at their injuries, all 4 opted to transport themselves to nearby hospitals for treatment and they were all out of hospital later that day, though two of them are "still seeking medical attention." BRPD has confirmed that witnesses have told them that one of the victims was kicked in the head, but they have not yet determined if that actually happened. No video footage of the incident has surfaced yet.
Jordan Jefferson was first named a person of interest in the investigation on Friday. On Saturday, Les Miles held a brief press conference and said that the team as a whole had and would be disciplined for breaking curfew, and that while no suspensions had been given, he was waiting for BRPD's investigation to finish before moving forward. Late Saturday, BRPD contacted Jefferson, OL Chris Davenport, WR Jarvis Landry, and LB Josh Johns and asked them to come in on Monday for interviews. On Sunday morning, the 4 players retained the services of attorney Nathan Fisher, last seen representing Ryan Perrilloux during the Federal counterfeiting investigation in early 2007, and notified the BRPD that they would not be coming in for the interviews on Monday. BRPD says they rescheduled for Tuesday, but Fisher could not confirm this as of Sunday afternoon. The 4 victims have also retained an attorney, Michael Bienvenu, who told reporters that his clients intend to press charges.
What Is Rumored
WAFB, the Baton Rouge area CBS, reported accounts from "people who claim to have witnessed the incident" that the driver of the truck was pulled from his vehicle and that a separate victim who was kicked in the head was a Marine and the kicker was Jordan Jefferson. As of late Sunday, BRPD would not confirm any of this, other than that they had been told someone had been kicked in the head. None of the victims have been identified publicly.
While none of the players have commented, Jefferson's father John has told multiple reporters that his son was not involved in the incident and want's his name to be cleared. From the Times-Pic:
Jefferson's father, John Jefferson, said his son told him he left before the fight started and is upset at the perception he was involved. He said Jordan Jefferson told him several teammates have vouched for his innocence, unsolicited, to Miles. He said Jefferson was in his apartment when teammates called and asked him to join a group of players who had gone out.
"Jordan said he went over there for about 30 minutes in his jeans and slippers," John Jefferson said. "He said he saw an altercation about to happen and told the guys with him 'Let's roll.'
"I'm a little ticked at him that he went at all. He's the face of the team. All the coaches are saying the players who were there are coming to them and saying 'Jordan didn't even throw a punch,' and at one point Jordan was saying 'Y'all chill out,' and then he rolled out. He didn't want to have anything to do with it."
The father of OL T-Bob Hebert, Saint's Pro Bowl QB and radio host Bobby Hebert also released a comment defending his son on twitter.
Majority of the team skipped curfew and should be disciplined, but T-Bob had nothing to do with the fight and shouldn't be singled out..BS!
For now, it seems we are in a holding pattern. The BRPD seems fine with waiting to interview the 4 players on Tuesday, though that may change if new evidence surfaces. While the victims' attorney could file charges tomorrow, it's unknown at this point what their plans are.
The team meanwhile continues to practice as it has the last few days, probably a little worse for the wear. Strength coach Tommy Moffitt is the kind of guy who dreams of wind sprints in his sleep, and is no doubt relishing the next few weeks of extra "conditioning" the team will be doing. Other matters, like the ongoing worries about Russell Shepard's status for the first game and whether Mickey Johnson is ever going to get out of the NCAA clearing house will also continue to distract from preparations for Oregon, which becomes the main focus of practice from here on out.
I was going to end there, but I realize that last paragraph seems a little flippant in regard to the situation. Make no mistake, if Jefferson or any other player did in fact do what is being claimed, they should be suspended immediately and should not play against Oregon, maybe even longer. However, Miles and LSU are right to wait on doling out suspensions until more is known.