Eye of the Hurricane

February 16, 2011

Garrett Wittels

Filed under: Uncategorized — eadeutsch @ 4:15 pm
Tags: , ,

College baseball doesn’t enjoy much media attention, but ESPN gave FIU star Garrett Wittels plenty of press along his 56-game hitting streak in his 2010 season at Florida International.

Wittels

He was last on the news, however, after being charged, along with two others, of raping two 17-year old girls in the Bahamas over the winter.

Here is Adam Beasley’s story from the Miami Herald:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/16/2069960/will-wittels-play-fiu-expected.html

I am shocked at the passive stance that the school is taking.  Considering Duke’s entire lacrosse program was practically shut down after a few players were brought to court on rape charges that were ultimately found to be false , I am amazed that FIU wouldn’t do more to protect its own interests–and its player–and not let Wittels play.  The team will play several of its opening games on ESPN3 and ESPN-U, only because Wittels is approaching Robin Ventura’s 58-game hit-streak, and I can’t help but suspect that the coverage they are due to get in the next few days eclipses their sense of ethics.

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6 Comments »

  1. Does Wittels lose the presumption on innocence as he gains a record? Should FIU punish him for off campus activities before he is convicted of any crime?
    I assume he wants to play.

    Comment by lee — February 16, 2011 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

    • Whether he is guilty or not, the school puts itself at risk. If he is innocent and acquires the record, then that is literally the best thing that can happen for the team. The risk in being guilty is far greater. Not only would Wittels likely be stripped of the record by the NCAA and disciplined by the NCAA as well as the courts if found guilty, but the team would likely be forced to forfeit all games in which he played this season.

      In college, part of a coach’s job is making sure that their players are not involved in risky off-field activities. The article makes it appear that nobody is being internally disciplined but that instead the school would rather enjoy its moment of the sun than face the fact that it puts its program at risk by doing so.

      I’m not arguing that Wittels ought to be punished before his trial, but am merely surprised (and somewhat disheartened) at the stance that FIU implicitly takes by taking no stand at all.

      Comment by eadeutsch — February 16, 2011 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  2. either way he’ll have a record when it’s all said and done

    Comment by Spiegler — February 16, 2011 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  3. As far as I can remember, Ben Roethlisberger has never been convicted–or even charged–of anything, but the NFL still suspended him at the beginning of this season. Basically, they did that because he is such a creep and seems to be a magnet for this type of unsavory allegation. Regardless of the presumption of innocence, the allegations against Wittels are as grave as those against Roethlisberger, and FIU would therefore seemingly be justified in preemptively suspending him Big Ben-style until this mess is resolved. I bet FIU would have already done so if not for the fact that Wittels–along with Isiah Thomas and The Brawl–is one of the only topics related to that school that sports fans have ever cared about.

    Comment by Hunter — February 16, 2011 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

    • Well said. That is as analogous a situation as there is (the Duke one I initially mentioned differs in several significant ways), and I am going to be interested how this situation ends up resolving.

      Comment by eadeutsch — February 16, 2011 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  4. Duke’s example is hardly one to follow. The Duke Admin. were so anxious not to appear to be protecting
    their students that they went the other way and washed their hands of them–even, according to allegations
    made in current lawsuits, to the point of altering university police records to make them look more guilty;
    and concocting phony statistics to do the same. (“Sometimes good people have to suffer for the good of
    the organization”, was the explanation allegedly offered by Robert K. Steel, then Duke Board Chair.)

    A different example would be Donna Shalala’s response to another incident: “It’s time for me to say to the community and to those who have been sending me e-mails that this University will be firm and punish people that do bad things, but we will not throw any student under the bus for instant restoration of our image or our reputation. I will not hang them in a public square. I will not eliminate their participation at the University. I will not take away their scholarships. . .

    “It’s time for the feeding frenzy to stop. These students made a stupid, terrible, horrible mistake and they are being punished. They are students and we are an educational institution and we will act like an educational institution, not like a P.R. organization that’s trying to spin and to restore an image that we worked so hard to put in place. . . “

    Comment by gandiji — February 18, 2011 @ 8:53 am | Reply


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