(UPDATED: 4 p.m.)
Florida coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday that Chris Rainey is “not with the team,” and when asked to disclose the minimum number of games the wide receiver would miss, he responded: “I can’t do that because I don’t know.”
Question: Does Meyer need to check the Gators’ schedule first to see how long he thinks they can do without one of their starting receivers? Because it seems to me when a football program is accumulating arrests and one player admits to police that he sent a text message to his [ex-]girlfriend with an assumed death threat, reading, “Time to Die Bitch,” the case is fairly cut and dried.
Rainey should be gone.
This is the problem when you put coaches in charge of discipline for matters slightly more serious than being late to practice. They can’t look at one of their players in handcuffs and make an objective decision when a voice in their heads say, “But we have to go to LSU Saturday.”
Rainey, the Gators’ junior slot receiver, has been charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rainey is “at least the 30th player to face charges or be arrested during coach Urban Meyer’s tenure,” which began in 2005.
This is not the typical driving or underage drinking violation that has become norm in college towns. The Gainesville police report doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Rainey. (Note: Def. stands for defendant, as in Rainey, and Vic. stands for victim, whose name is not disclosed.)
“At 23:10 hours [Monday night], the Def. showed up at the Vic’s residence and continued calling and texting the Vic. The Def. texted back, “I will not open the door.” The Def. replied, “I’m here and I will bust out the window.” The Vic. texted back, “I’m calling the cops.” At approximately 23:20 hours, the Vic went outside to talk to the Def. After approximately 10 minutes, the Def. became irate and the Vic. told the Def. to leave. The Vic. went back inside her residence. At approximately 23:47 hours, the Def. texted the Vic, “Don’t go a sleep,” and the Vic. went outside to make sure the Def. was gone. The Def. was gone and at approximately 00:22 hours, the Def. texted the Vic, “Time to Die Bitch u and ur??” At this point, the Vic, fearing for her life and the life of her family called [police].”
When Rainey was told by the women that she was phoning the police, he reportedly responded, “Wait and see what happens when they leave.”
On the weekly SEC coaches conference call with media members Wednesday, Meyer said of the Rainey matter: “It’s just further evaluation as we go. As for immediacy, he’s not with the team.”
We have taken some shots in this corner for the number of arrests in the Georgia football program. But Florida is right up there. Meyer once bragged that he would recruit “only the top one percent of the one percent.” But gives the 30 arrests, you have to wonder about his grading methods. The reputation of the Gators’ program has been significantly dented.
Meyer’s hesitancy to discipline players also was in evidence last season when he initially balked at disciplining Brandon Spikes for a significant eye-gouging incident against Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey in a pileup in last year’s game. Meyer ultimately suspended Spikes for only the first half of the Vanderbilt game, but after mounting criticism of the coach and SEC commissioner Mike Slive (who had stood by and done nothing) Spikes decided to suspend himself for the entire game (logic dictates he had a little help in that decision).
The Rainey case is no minor incident. The woman now says she doesn’t want to press charges, but that shouldn’t even be a factor.
What is Meyer’s policy for a player texting a death threat: One-game suspension and extra laps in practice?
Or does it take an actual physical assault to get kicked off the team?
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