Hugs, not thugs — UCLA gets barraged with bad news, tempered by a couple of pieces of good news, plus Kiffin getting busted again, and a 40-photo nostalgic look at fan-favorite Brianna
[UPDATED, at 10:55am on Thursday, July 28th]
Adding insult to injury…
Just days after the Bruins’ Freshman phenom QB Brett Hundley hurt his knee playing Basketball, requiring surgery, and just a day after the Bruin Football team was picked to finish second-to-last in the South division of the new Pac-12 — with sc picked to finish first — the real bad news hit Westwood: Bruin Basketballer Jerime Anderson was arrested for stealing a $1400 laptop computer. So far, Anderson has been suspended for one game, and banned from all team activities. But if the charges stick, and JA is proven guilty, he should be kicked off the team and out of school. Some Bruin fans — as well as Anderson’s teammate Reeves Nelson — have voiced the opinion that Ben Howland should be lenient, trying to excuse Jerime’s “first offense” as a “mistake,” and just a youthful transgression. They ask, who didn’t do some stupid things as a college-aged youngster?
I say BULL. If he really stole someone’s computer, he has no place on the storied UCLA Basketball team, and should be forced to transfer to another school. UCLA should not in any way condone such behavior, and the team should not be tainted by having an ex-con on the roster. EVER. There are plenty of law-abiding citizens who are dying to don the Blue and Gold and represent the University with dignity and pride. I’d rather lose every game than lower the standards of conduct to allow a trojan-like thief participate. This crime is a little more serious than smoking a little reefer, and is far from “victimless.” A guy who would steal another student’s precious hard drive would also be likely to accept illegal benefits from a booster or agent, conceivably bringing down the whole Program, ala O.J. Mayo, whose pot-smoking was the least of his sins.
But before I close the book on Anderson, I’d like to see the justice process unfold, and I’d be willing to listen to any extenuating circumstances that may explain why this seemingly intelligent young man, with caring, involved parents, went astray. Did he do it on a dare? Was it all peer pressure? Was it a fraternity prank? Was he getting back at someone who had done him wrong in the past? Was he just getting even? NONE of this would EXCUSE his alleged actions, but it might change my mind about how harsh and final the punishment should be.
This ugly incident, along with Hundley’s torn meniscus and the Media’s scathing prognosis for the Bruins’ 2011 football campaign ruined what could have been a really fun week around here. Just a few days ago, it was announced that U$C Head Coach Lane Kiffin has been busted by the NCAA once again, this time for “Failure to Monitor” while at Tennessee. Despite being warned, Kiffin’s Vol staff made illegal contact with recruits, and illegally used recruiting hostesses to help lure high schoolers to UT, while Kiffin looked the other way. Apparently, the NCAA had enough evidence to declare Kiffin was personally at fault. However, the NCAA refused to penalize Tennessee, instead placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Kiffin. Now, when Kiffin gets caught in his NEXT violation, at sc, the NCAA will have no choice but to throw the book at him. And based on Kiffin’s checkered past, it’s only a matter of time.
Kiffin’s tongue-lashing was not the only bright spot for Bruins this week. Former trojan QB Carson Palmer was also in the news, for trying to classlessly renege on his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Palmer, who has led the team to nowhere for most of the past decade, has demanded a trade, and is threatening to retire if he doesn’t get it. But the Bengals’ Owner is refusing to trade him, claiming that Palmer is under contract for a couple more years, and is obligated to play for Cinci. He wants to know why he should REWARD Palmer for violating the terms of the contract. Palmer wanted to go play for his old buddy Pete Carroll in Seattle, but now it looks like he’ll just be watching the Seahawks on TV, from an EZ-Chair. Failing to snatch Palmer, Carroll went after Palmer’s suc-cessor at sc, Matt Leinart, who agreed to come to Seattle… until he heard that Carroll ALSO brought in Tavaris Jackson. Apparently, the ballroom dancing Leinart was AFRAID TO COMPETE with Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst for playing time, so he backed out of the deal and will now stay in Houston, where he will carry Matt Schaub’s jockstrap, waiting for Schaub to get injured.
But Bruin fans’ joy this week didn’t all come from SChadenfreude. Bruin Baseballer Trevor Bauer became the school’s first-ever winner of the Golden Spikes Award, which is College Baseball’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. With Bauer’s selection, UCLA became the only school to lay claim to all three major awards: The Golden Spikes Award, The Heisman, and The Wooden Award. And speaking of Bruin Basketball stars and other sports, Kevin Love announced that he will play in a Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament this summer in the Southland. Sounds like a great excuse for me and other Bruin fans to hit the bikini-covered beach next month, to root him on.
So not all is sour news for UCLA this week, but there was enough stuff that needs to be forgotten quickly, that I thought it called for something that could take your mind off all the troubles. So now, get ready to drown your sorrows in a 40-pic spread of the legendary Brianna, including some never-before-seen photos that somehow got lost in the shuffle of hundreds of amazing Brianna shots of 2007-2009. The first several shots are the “new” ones, followed by a whole lotta classics from my hard drive. It’s a wonder that no one ever tried to steal MY laptop.