Thursday, December 18, 2008

Andy Kennedy arrested

Thanks to the people who emailed about Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy's excitement earlier this morning. For those who haven't seen it, Kennedy was arrested this morning in Cincinnati and charged with misdemeanor assault of a 25 year old cab driver, whom he allegedly struck with a closed fist and yelled racial epithets at.

While all the facts have yet to come out, there are conflicting stories, so there's hardly a need to crucify the guy just yet. A Cincinnati beat writer who covered Kennedy in his days on Huggins' staff had this to say:

Yep, actually talked to Someone Who Would Know just a few minutes ago. He said the cabbie dropped a racial slur on a member of Andy's party as they got into the cab... AK and his four companions, all his assistant coaches, got out of the cab and hailed another. As they were on their way back to their hotel, cops pulled them over and charged AK with assault.

My source said AK assaulted no one and has 4 eyewitnesses to swear to it. Given what I know of Kennedy from having covered him as a head coach and as Huggins' top assistant, I believe this account.
While it's quick and easy to judge Kennedy in this situation, remember the Duke lacrosse scandal. It's not public yet what actually transpired last night in Cincinnati. Kennedy "emphatically denies" the assault and making any racial slurs. It may be a few hours or a few days before all the facts are out.

It's hard to imagine that Kennedy will coach tonight against Louisville though. Ole Miss was a prohibitive underdog (~15 points) before this went down. It will be tough for his young team to stay focused after this distraction. As a Southerner, I'd like to believe the incident didn't go down as originally reported, with Kennedy lobbing racial slurs at the man as he pounded in the face with a "closed fist". I'd like to think reality lies closer to the version suggested by the Cincy beat writer.

Only time will tell.

Okay, so Andy Kennedy will coach tonight, which makes me think even more that this is blown out of proportion. Kennedy obviously refused to comment about the situation, but given the Ole Miss AD is allowing him to coach tonight, there must be something that points to a big misunderstanding.

So now this is just getting weird. According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, the situation that Kennedy described to his brother is completely different from the police report.

If this is true, it's a remarkable 180 from this morning. It's becoming more and more like a smaller version of the Duke Lacrosse scandal. Pull on the heartstrings of an overly PC, scoop-hungry media a bit and you can accuse anyone you want of of anything you want at anytime.

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