Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tre'Von Willis dodged a bullet, but Lon Kruger didn't necessarily do anything wrong

We finally have word on what Tre'Von Willis' punishment will be.

If you remember, Willis was arrested back in June after a 28 year old Las Vegas woman accused him of choking her in her apartment. If the police report was to be believed, Willis looked like a real long shot to play this season -- it said he knocked the woman on her back and choked her for three minutes, using two hands and then his foreman, before stealing her phone.

But Willis had a much different story. He gave his side during a press conference at the Thomas & Mack Center this evening:

No choking took place. I originally agreed to go over to the young lady's house. She had promised me a little bit of money. We started to argue a little bit, and from then I grabbed her purse off of the nightstand. That's when she tried to grab the purse from me, and that's when I grabbed her hand. I knew it was wrong. From there I dumped the contents of the purse out onto the bed, and there was no money in it, and then I exited the apartment.
Tre'Von Willis got off easier than expected.
(photo credit: B/R)

Quite a bit different, right?

Willis was able to land plea deal. He received a suspended 90 day jail sentence pending a year of good behavior, must pay a $340 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and attend domestic battery counseling. Considering the accusations, a fine and some community service in exchange for a year of good behavior isn't much.

Neither is the punishment he got from head coach Lon Kruger.

Kruger said that Willis will be suspended for a minimum of 10% of UNLV's games this season, which means he will miss the first three games of the season. The catch? UNLV's two exhibition games count, which means that Willis could very well be eligible to play against Southeastern Louisiana in the Rebel's second game of the season and, more importantly, in UNLV's potential top 25 showdown with Wisconsin on November 20th in the third game of the year. Willis will also be able to practice with the team starting October 15th.

All in all, it seems like Willis dodged a bullet on this one.

This outcome likely won't sit right with a lot of people.

Every time a situation like this arises, I think back to Eric Devendorf. The former Cuse guard received a similar accusation against him during the 2008-2009 season, and Syracuse reacted by suspending from school for the rest of the year. Once the stories were untangled and the truth came out, he was reinstated after missing two games.

In a situation like the ones Willis and Devo found themselves in, can you really trust either side? Men that beat women are despicable, but there are also times where women exaggerate, or flat out lie, about an assault. Knowing this, if you are Lon Kruger, and one of your players -- who, presumably, you trust and have a strong relationship with -- steadfastly denies the accusation, isn't there a large part of you that believes him? Now, when that player gets off with a cushy plea bargain, doesn't that only reinforce your belief?

If this was your son, what would you do? He would get punished for using terrible judgement, getting himself into a bad situation, and committing an unacceptable act. Maybe you take away car privileges, ground him for a month, and implement a 9pm curfew, but you're not shipping him off to military school, right?

If I'm Kruger, and I'm in this exact situation, I'm not so sure I would have done anything different.

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