FOOTBALL: How bad is this?

I agree that stealing is stealing, and that Ole Miss football players who took items from hotels should be punished.

The university response is that they are being punished. It’s being handled in-house, and it’s not likely the public will know the true measure of the discipline. There are forms of discipline other than missing game time, but the cynic in me wonders if the punishment might not have been game suspension if the number of players involved were smaller.

However, I had someone email me and make the comparison to stealing the same amount of property from the mall. At the mall, it’s shoplifting, and security would have been involved immediately, then likely the police. This person was upset that Hotelgate wasn’t handled in the same way.

I have never taken anything from a hotel, so this is a guess now. But it seems like for the items in question, valued between $15 and $40, that this was handled in standard hotel manner. Wouldn’t the initial approach of the hotel on something like this be to send an updated bill with new charges to the customer before getting some sort of collection agency involved? If you use express check-out as I do, I’d imagine they would just add the charges to your credit card.

I don’t think it’s unusual that law enforcement was not involved in this. If we have a hotel industry person passing through, please add your two cents.

Stealing is stealing. It’s wrong and should not be tolerated. But there are different degrees of theft, as there are different degrees in most things. These guys — apparently — didn’t get into the hotel safe and steal jewelry or walk out with flat screen TVs under their arms.

The punishment should fit the crime. The athletic department says it is confident in letting head coach Ed Orgeron administer the necessary punishment.

Debate will continue, for a while, because there are many different ideas and opinions as to what constitutes acceptable punishment.

Ultimately, however, this episode will not cause financial harm or NCAA violations to the university, just embarrassment and a hit to its image.

— PA

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14 Responses to “FOOTBALL: How bad is this?”

  1. UNC_jenn Says:

    Yes, stealing is stealing and you and the Rebels seem to be the only ones trying to excuse that fact.

    I think another problem with your postulations (excuses, even) is the fact that you are missing a major point. For there to be 20 kids involved in this, it appears to be a planned “theft.” To me, that adds a level of premeditation that goes beyond a simple, “whoops I accidentally took my hotel room pillow.”

    The university’s response to the incidents is the most troubling. They are treating it as if it is a joke.

  2. VA Reb Says:

    Agree with PA. Sounds like a good case of “overblown.” Would this be treated with the same level of interest if it didn’t involve student-athletes? Let the University, the athletic department, and the hotel management work it out. LB

  3. WG Says:

    As a former front desk manager of a large hotel, it is standard procedure to add charges to someone’s bill for missing or damaged items from the hotel room. Pretty much, if you really liked the TV in your hotel room and took it home with you, that’s fine but expect a charge on your bill for it. It’s a little bit different than shoplifting at the mall.

  4. garnth1 Says:

    So if I understand this correctly, the reason they’re eligible to play is because they weren’t warned before hand that stealing is wrong and they’d be punished if they did? Really? Boggles the mind…

  5. djrebel Says:

    Jenn, the subject of whether this was premeditated was discussed at great length in the press conference Monday. The AD and Orgeron say it was not premeditated and that it was 20 different players stealing one time at one of the two hotels. No single player stole two times, they say.

    — PA

  6. bully4prez Says:

    Wow. I’m almost as confused as the Coors Light guys in the old Arizona Cardinals coach’s post game interview.

    “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!”

  7. Country Says:

    To me taking something that does not belong to, regardless of the value, is simply stealing.

    First time….few players involved…..word got passed….thinking we got away with it……so others players did the same.

    If no big deal, why didn’t more than 20 players do the same.

    No matter how u look at it….they took stuff that was not their to take, period. To me the image of the University is far more important than any single/multiple players, or a “game”.

    May be the reason hotels bill people for things taken is lot less expensive then filing charges…going to court.

  8. Mike Says:

    I guess PA has fallen into the worlds trap of degrees of stuff. You see that there is right and wrong and the last time I consulted the ultimate authority on the matter stealing, not matter what it is, is wrong. Yes, it has become a huge thing and the MSU fans are having a field day with it – as Ole Miss fans would if the shoe were on the other foot.
    I do wonder if these players would have been suspended if it were not the Egg Bowl and if it were not 20 of them.
    And to say it was just kids making mistakes makes me wonder if there is any integrity in the Athletic Department at Ole Miss at all. You see if you blow this off as not a big deal then the next thing you know you are dealing with the NCAA and lots of cash that seems to be missing….

  9. UNC_Jenn Says:

    I just find it hard to believe that there were actually 20 SEPARATE, UNRELATED incidents of theft that just spontaneously happened on one particular game weekend.

    That sounds a little tough to swallow for anyone.

  10. m4rebs Says:

    Jenn, it didn’t happen on 1 weekend. It happened when we played Arkansas at home and at Auburn. None of the same players did it twice.

  11. oxfordrebel Says:

    Getting off the subject here, but just read some great news over at http://www.olemisssports.com . The new kickoff time for non-televised home games is 5:00 pm next season. This means more night games. How awesome is that!

  12. RebelGiant66 Says:

    Hey PA-

    We gonna pick the score?

  13. charleston11 Says:

    I don’t care which player took what item, they would be dismissed from the team!. Big O is digging himself a big hOle!

  14. djrebel Says:

    Yes, I will admit to believing in “degrees of stuff.” There are some absolute truth’s, but things aren’t always black and white. Sometimes things are gray. Not saying this is. I don’t know what Ed’s internal punishment is, but I know mine would be pretty strong. I don’t know that I’d take all 20 and boot them from the game. If true discipline can be handled in another way, is it fair to the 60 or 70 guys that didn’t steal to send a depleted, demoralized team out to get routed in its last game?

    I do think Charleston’s on the mark. O is digging himself a hole. No matter what happens tomorrow, the season of suspensions, the Greg Hardy ordeal and now Hotelgate will linger into the offseason. The program has earned a reputation of undisciplined, and it will take most of next season to discard that reputation. It wasn’t earned overnight and won’t be lost overnight.

    — PA

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