Scheduled to enter pleas in Dane County court today are Diamond Taylor and Jeremy Glover, the two former UW hoopsters who’ve been charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. Campus cops say the two went through several unlocked dorm rooms and stole cash - around four hundred bucks - and small electronics. They were essentially nabbed red-handed.
They were also charged with underage drinking, but let’s face it: it would have been remarkable if a UW freshman was NOT drinking on Labor Day weekend.
Andy Baggot, a veteran State Journal sports columnist who knows about a zillion times as much about UW sports as I do, opined Friday that the UW Athletic Department essentially threw the two young men under the bus. The brain trust on Monroe Street didn’t send a representative to their first appearance, and kicked them off the hoops team Wednesday, before “the legal system had a chance to play out”, as they say over there in jock-dom.
Baggot says this leads you to believe the UW Athletic Department is convinced the two are guilty of something serious. He expected more from the department, and says the UW should have done a better job of supporting and backing the two young men.
It’s very difficult to publicly defend the behavior of somebody caught stealing cash and iPods and cell phones by systematically going through unlocked dorm rooms. What are you supposed to do, if you’re the coach? Tell them “look, fellows, maybe this sort of thing is OK where you come from, but here at the UW, we don’t look kindly on it”? Of course not. And then, as Baggot points out, there’s that pesky “innocent until proven guilty” concept.
The duo made their first appearance in our county’s justice system accompanied by “regular” lawyers. Competent counsel, I’m sure; but not with the style, panache, and experience of somebody like Charlie Giesen, who has represented more than a few UW jocks who’ve run afoul of the law.
These two young men, who no doubt are very skilled at the game of basketball, have not yet proven they can play competitively at the NCAA-Division-1-Big Ten level. Excuse me for being so cynical, but they have not yet proven themselves to be big-time-lawyer-worthy.
Sort of like being statue-worthy over there in jock land: Barry Alvarez: statue-worthy. Bret Bielema: we’ll see.
Had the charges against Taylor and Glover come a couple years from now, and if either had been averaging 20 points or 15 rebounds a game, I think the UW Athletics Department’s response might be different.