by Matt Taibbi
special is brewing in Indianapolis. In a phenomenon that
appears to be without precedent in professional sports (although
there are several examples from college), a wave of arrests
is threatening, in the space of a single off-season, to
place an entire starting unit of an NFL team under a jurisprudential
cloud. It is early yet, but it may yet happen that not only
the whole of the Indianapolis Colts' starting secondary,
but also its reserves, will have either been arrested or
named in serious civil litigation between Super Bowl XXXIX
and opening day, 2005.
week, Blotter readers were brought up to speed on the troubles
of Colts' starting safety Mike Doss, the former Ohio State
Buckeye who brought glory to his old program by being arrested
in Akron for carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a
weapon within city limits, inducing panic and obstructing
was the common thread in three intersecting subsets of recent
sportscrime activity. He was one of a number of current
or former Ohio State Buckeyes to get written up in May (include
DT Tim Schaefer and running back Erik Haw). He would also
prove to be the first of two starting NFL strong safeties
to be arrested last week for discharging a firearm in public
(troubled Washington Redskins phenom Sean Taylor was the
other; see below). And his arrest was the third controversy
involving a Colt defensive back this offseason.
first of the others was reserve cornerback Joseph Jefferson,
a second-year player who last year was arrested on drunken-driving
charges just days after being placed on injured reserve
by the Colts. Jefferson had been driving erratically in
the parking lot of a Bowling Green T-Mart when police pulled
him over; although he refused a breathalyzer, he was nonetheless
detained after police discovered a loaded handgun on this
passenger seat of his car.
offseason Jefferson was sentenced for that incident; he
was given probation and community service. Not long after
his case was wrapped up, the Colts' first round draft choice
from this year's draft, former Michigan cornerback Marlin
Jackson, was sued for $10 million for his role in a 1993
barroom brawl. Jackson, who was arrested for assault in
that case, had hit a man over the head, opening a cut that
required 17 stitches. He had fled the scene before police
arrived and was only caught by chance some time after, when
the victim spotted Jackson relaxing at an Ann Arbor cafe.
Jackson suit is ongoing. Shortly after it was filed, Doss
was arrested. And then, not a week after the Doss arrest,
yet another Colt was hauled in—this time starting
cornerback Nick Harper, on domestic violence charges. Details
in the case are sketchy, but it appears that Harper came
home late, inspiring an argument with his wife, who ended
up with a black eye. Police arrived at their home at 6:34
a.m., and Harper ended up spending the weekend in jail,
charged with domestic battery, a class A misdemeanor.
and Harper are both established starters in the Colt secondary,
while Jackson was likely to replace Donald Strickland as
the starting corner opposite Harper. That leaves undersized
free safety Bob Sanders with the burden of getting himself
arrested or sued before September to complete the rare full-unit
blowup. Strickland, Gerome Sapp, Jermaine Mays, Waine Bacon,
Willie Ford, and Jerome Dennis round out the expected contributors
to the 2005 Colt defensive backfield. We'll keep you posted
if there are any more arrests among those contenders.
football teams have suffered whole-unit arrest incidents.
The late-nineties Florida State wide receiver corps, hit
with arrests of Peter Warrick, Laveranues Coles, and Ron
Dugans, was the most recent to threaten along these lines.
NAME IS K-ROB, AND I'M AN...
more onetime NFL draft phenoms, both top-ten can't-miss
types, went up in flames last week.
June 1, the Seattle Seahawks released wide receiver Koren
Robinson. The former #9 overall pick from the 2001 draft,
Robinson had one good year, in 2002, when he caught 78 passes
for over 1,200 yards. But the rest of his career was marked
with alcohol-related busts and assorted off-field idiocies,
of which the latest was a DUI two weeks ago. Ironically,
Robinson spent most of his career trying to keep pace with
the impressive arrest record of the wide receiver taken
just before him with the #8 pick of the 2001 draft, David
Terrell. He fell short there, but he did outshine the next
receiver taken, Washington Redskin Rod Gardner.
mostly stayed out of trouble with the Redskins, but he also
underperformed, while keeping questionable company. Recently,
in fact, he hosted a birthday party at which a top-ten defensive
stud of the 2004 draft, Sean Taylor, drank far too much
and got into his car. Taylor was subsequently pulled over
for a DUI, which began a full year of legal difficulties
which culminated last week in an arrest for-- like Doss--
discharging a weapon in public. Florida authorities are
calling Taylor a "person of interest" in a case
involving an exchange of shots near Taylor's Florida home.
The star safety has been excused from camp and workouts,
and there are rumors that he will never play in the NFL