Ok, so we’ve all heard the complaints about the double-standard that’s been in evidence in recent years regarding how the football players can get away with murder while the regular students get sacked for basic pranking. If you want a primer on this, I recommend my good friend’s at 4 & 20 Blackbirds post “More Griz Thuggery“ on this exact subject.
In fact, I had been chatting with the masterful writers over at the birds’ nest, and we both agree that this situation appears to be out of hand.
I, however, took what I’d heard from them to my sources, and heard something very different, and it’s not something that seems out of sorts at all, so now I’m torn.
The current two stories are thus;
1) The students were at a party, far too loud, and when the police arrived, they pulled the “do you know who I am” crap that all d-list stars try at some point, which got them no where, then they resisted arrest, pushed a cop, and had to be tased. This story falls under the “football players are coddled twats who spend more time making trouble than actually proving their worth on the field” which is a popular story, and one that’s actually based on some truth.
2) The students were at a party, far too loud, and when the police arrived, instead of asking that the noise be kept down, one of the cops, who apparently is right about 5-foot-nothing and has a staggering case of “small man syndrome” started in about “you niggers need to go back where you came from” yelling at the players that they were useless and had been taking scholarships from the locals who were deployed to Iraq to protect our freedoms. This falls under the “Missoula police have been out of hand and have some bad apples who are reflecting poorly on the overall force with their inability to actually police without being bullies or instigating situations that then require some sort of weaponry, usually a taser.” This is also a popular story, one that, again, is based on some truth.
So what actually happened? If this were any time before 2010 we’d have to answer “We may never know.” but it’s not, and apparently there are videos on cell phones, multiple videos, that show this cop losing his shit and doing the wrong thing, inciting and attacking instead of protecting and serving.
This is also why one of the most expensive lawyers in the state, one with whom no one really likes to tangle, has agreed to handle this case. The cops are in a world of trouble if this plays out with these videos.
Mind you, I’ve seen nothing, and my information is second-hand, but it’s from people I trust and who would actually know. If I were a betting man, I’d not put money down because it’d be like insider-trading at this point, but you should totally put money on the cop getting busted down to cross-walk guard in the very near future.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem with the football players being treated as the Favored Sons of Powerful Lords, it, in fact, re-enforces the idea that this is a problem. If a cop, admittedly an unbalanced one in this case, but not so unbalanced he could be removed from the force before this, obviously, realized he was dealing with the players, and that they’d probably get off scot-free regardless of what they did, that could easily be enough to push him over whatever edge he was walking when it comes to dealing with law breakers.
Missoula PD might also want to do some more rigorous personality/stress testing to see what’s going on with their officers and perhaps mitigate events like this in the future.
Regardless, there does need to more upstanding, ethical behavior on all sides. The student athletes need to remember that they are privileged to be in the roles they have, and nothing is owed them, while quite a bit is given, willingly. Show some respect, and be adults. If you need help figuring out how to do that, find Miss Manners and or just ask a drama student to help you. The cops need to remember that kids do stupid things, and dealing with drunks takes patience and skill, and that training cannot be skipped or avoided, because tasers are deadly far more often than they should be, and it’s usually because someone lost their temper instead of using their head.
I’m sure there will be more to come on this whole story, but for right now, both sides are in the wrong and nothing good has come of it.