Suspension not enough; muggers must leave team, campus

Football is more than a game here at Alabama. Everyone knows that. It’s a cultural institution, a source of identity for the University and a financial bastion that has helped make this University great. Even if you don’t care about the sport, it’s impossible to deny the importance of the Crimson Tide to this college and the surrounding community.

That makes what Brent Calloway, Eddie Williams, Tyler Hayes and Dennis Pettway did all the more reprehensible.

These members of The University of Alabama football team all had a role in the vicious beating and robbery of two UA students. This past Monday, Williams approached Samuel Jurgens, another UA student, and beat him unconscious while Hayes and Pettway stood by (and possibly participated). The three then made off with Jurgens’ possessions, leaving him face down and covered in blood.

An hour later, they did the same thing to another student. Like Jurgens, student Caleb Paul was accosted, beaten, robbed and left bleeding in the street.

Williams could have won a fair fight with both of his victims at once. But he attacked them without warning, in the dark, while they were alone, and he had two friends at his back.

These acts would be unspeakable from anyone, anywhere. But coming from members of the football team, they are even worse.

The four team members complicit in this crime represent Alabama. Their conduct is a determinant of our university’s reputation throughout the country. They are celebrities and a privileged class amongst the student body. And their actions have shown they have neither the slightest compassion nor the tiniest spark of integrity, regarding not only their fellow students but also their responsibility to this university.

They have been given every perquisite and accommodation this university has to offer, from scholarships to special meals to academic leniency, because they are the face and economic backbone of Alabama. They’re hardly disadvantaged or desperate. They have no excuse for their actions, except that they truly don’t care about the safety, property or lives of others.

They have a contract with this university, both explicit and implicit, which holds them to a higher grade of conduct than others, and they’ve failed that contract as completely as they possibly could have.

They have been indefinitely suspended from the team, and hopefully further reprimands will follow. In order to safeguard the honor of the Crimson Tide, which is a symbol of the University, all four players should be permanently removed from the team and ideally the student body. Alabama doesn’t need to endorse the kind of cowardice or depravity that they have demonstrated.

Yes, we will lose an asset to our team. But football at Bama is more than a game. As such, our players need to be more than athletes. And Williams, Hayes, Pettway and Calloway have shown that they’re not made of the right stuff to do that.

Simply put, I’d rather suffer a losing season than see these four represent me and my school on the field. Hopefully others will feel the same way.

Nathan James is a sophomore majoring in public relations. His column runs weekly on Thursdays.

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