What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

I Still Believe in “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

The headline tells it all, I still believe in America that the accused are innocent until proven guilty.  To prove it, I still have a fun collection of hate mail I received for defending Ben Roethlisberger. But I have to admit, the Cam Newton/Auburn story is making it hard to maintain that faith. At least in the beginning, Roethlisberger kept his mouth shut except for one prepared statement on the matter. But this situation involving recruiting violations produces a new wrinkle every day, and a new opportunity for either Auburn or Newton to makes themselves appear guilty.  It is CRUCIAL you do not misunderstand that last statement. Until somebody shows me the “smoking gun,” nobody is guilty of any charge. But the accused in this case certainly are not helping themselves.

First of all, there are such things as reputations. In the Roethlisberger case, he had created a trail of instances where it was clear he exercised some seriously questionable judgement. Newton and Auburn both are no different.  Newton has some issues stemming his time at Florida, and Auburn has been through the NCAA sanction mill before. If forced to do so, I would much rather judge character rather than reputation; I would much rather judge facts than impressions.

Cruel, but fair...and hilarious.

Cam Newton arrested is actually old news, but with Auburn doing well and Cam Newton being talked about for the Heisman Trophy, it keeps coming up that Cam Newton was arrested 23 months ago and charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice after allegedly stealing a fellow students Dell laptop while attending the University of Florida. According to the police report, the burglary was reported on October 16th, 2008 and Newton was booked at 2:25 p.m. the same day.

Police had checked the Gatorlink wifi system at the college under Newtons’ account on the laptop. Newton then signed a waiver allowing police to view his Dell laptop which had appeared to have been painted black with Newtons name in white on the cover. When police checked the serial number on the laptop compared to the number the burglary victim provided the was only one digit that did not match; a “Q” instead of a “2″.

Because of the possibility of a mix up with the serial number, the police stepped away from Newton’s room to call the student and inquire about the numbers. Once the officers re-entered the room, the computer was gone and later it was found that it had been thrown from Newtons third story dorm room and was found near a garbage dumpster outside of the dorms. The charges were eventually dropped after a pre-trial diversion program.

An arrest, no conviction, and the charges were dropped after entry into a “diversion” program. What that usually means is the accused was a first-time offender who was given the option to enter the “diversion” program and upon completion the charges would be dropped. It a nice way of tacitly admitting guilt without ever having to officially admit guilt. in any event, in 99 times out of 100 it a nice way to skate on a non-violent felony charge.  If that weren’t enough, isn’t the simple act of chucking that laptop out the window another “makes ya look like ya did it” moment?

Another thing that bugs me are the table-pounding denials offered by Auburn coach Gene Chizik.  Loud denials are one of only two things that make somebody look more guilty than the old “no comment” routine, probably because they smack of “thou doth protest too much.”

“Let me tell you something: He’s the leader of the Heisman race because he deserves it. That’s fact,” Chizik said. “So distractions or whatever’s out there, whatever people want to drum up and dream up and try to distract, it is what it is and it’s not changing. Cameron’s going to be focused on playing Georgia this week. Nothing’s changed in terms of who he is and what he is. But he is like our son here, and I’ve got a problem with this, got a problem it.”

“Cameron Newton is one of the young men on our football team that has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete, he has done everything we have asked him to do since the day he stepped on campus at Auburn,” Chizik said. “So I want to make this very clear, because I’m wasting my time addressing allegations that completely, to be frank, blow my mind that they’re even out there because there are federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don’t even get out in public.

“But I’m standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that quite frankly is garbage. Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don’t know. Is there one? Is there two? Are there 10? I don’t know, and I don’t care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player, but a great human being who comes from a great family.”

I never buy this stuff, because every guy in prison has somebody who will defend them regardless of the situation. No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides, and this stuff is just the opposite side of the accusations. It can be just as much unsubstantiated puffery as the other side, and it almost always hurts a case more than it helps. Chizik would have done himself and Newton a much bigger service by pulling a Paterno-like deflection, saying something like “I’m just worried about Georgia this week” and leaving it at that. Now he seems like a guy who has far more skin in this game than just his Heisman-caliber quarterback; perhaps he knows we aren’t far from “What did Chizik know and when did he know it?”

Speaking of Watergate references, Newton’s father Cecil sure as hell isn’t helping matters. The following non-denial denial gets about a 9.6 on the Nixon-o-meter.

“I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place,” Newton told Thayer Evans of Fox Sports. “I’ve answered what I need to answer. If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say.”

And if all that weren’t enough, now the FBI is getting involved. How many stories do you know that include the phrase “the FBI is getting involved” that have happy endings?

But what really gets to me is the attitude of Cam Newton himself. At least when Roethlisberger stood accused, he seemed to take the matter seriously. Newton, on the other hand, seems to have one of those incredibly smug grins on his face as if he is above the fray.

I’ve never met Cam Newton, but I’ve known plenty of guys who wore that same attitude on their faces, and every single one I knew had a huge fall coming their way. It drove me crazy when I saw that smirk on Newton’s face, not because it makes him look like he knows he did something and is going to get away with it, but because I knew there was a prior famous classic example and I couldn’t remember where I had seen it.  Then it dawned on me…

I guess it is fitting, since despite all the evidence to the contrary, The State of California believes he was not guilty…

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

2 comments on “I Still Believe in “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

  1. brouhahasports
    November 11, 2010

    wow….you went “o.j.”

    got hate mail?


  2. Pingback: Three Crucial Facts About The Aaron Hernandez Situation ESPN Is Conveniently Ignoring | Dubsism

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This entry was posted on November 10, 2010 by in College Football and tagged , , , , , , .

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