LSU football coach Les Miles is in a brutal position, the kind of situation they don't teach anywhere. This is on-the-job learning right here -- and whatever Les Miles does, he's wrong.
If he suspends star quarterback Jordan Jefferson because of reports that Jefferson did (but maybe did not) kick a prone victim during a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar, Miles runs the risk of hurting his player, his team and his school for something Jefferson never did.
If he doesn't suspend Jefferson, as he has not done so far, Miles runs the risk of allowing a potential felon to play, and all the national tut-tutting that such leniency produces.
Meantime, no charges have been filed. Forgive Les Miles for not knowing what happened outside that bar, seeing how the cops themselves still don't seem to have a grasp on it. Witnesses are offering contradictory accounts, but what's known is this: Jefferson and a large handful of teammates were out too late, busting curfew, hanging out at a bar. It was a stupid move, and it deserves punishment.
But how much punishment? What would be fair? Maybe we should let the facts come in, shall we? This isn't a case like -- to name just one -- Miami football, where the alleged scumbag isn't an alleged scumbag. He's an admitted scumbag. Nevin Shapiro says he helped scores of UM players violate NCAA rules. It's up to the school and the NCAA to figure out just how truthful Shapiro has been, but in the meantime it seems reasonable to believe the worst. Or even a fraction of the worst. Because a fraction of the worst would still be pretty damn bad.
As for LSU, well, shoot. Believing the worst -- believing that Jefferson is the reason a man has cracked vertebra after that fight -- would mean suspending Jefferson before the police have done their job. It would mean suspending Jefferson for something he possibly didn't do.
One of these days the cops will figure out what (they think) happened. And when charges come down -- as charges surely will come down against someone, or multiple someones, on the LSU football team -- Miles must act decisively. And I'm sure he will. Until then, though, I'm not sure he should suspend Jordan Jefferson.
Not sure I could do that, if I were Les Miles.
Go ahead. Call me an SEC shill. But you better ignore this story.
And this one.
And this one.
UPDATE, 11:52 a.m.: An arrest warrant has been issued for Jefferson (and linebacker Josh Johns). Now, it is absolutely time for Les Miles to suspended Jefferson (and Johns).
UPDATE, 12:12 p.m. And now there are reports (on Twitter!) that Jefferson and Johns have been suspended indefinitely. So it all worked out as it should have, in the end.