Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Saga of Simeon Castille, 'One of the Finest Young Men on our Team'

It was all a misunderstanding. Just some horsing around. Nothing Serious. Simeon Castille's arrest was not warranted, at least according to his father:

August 20, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- The father of star Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille said Monday his son's arrest on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct over the weekend was not warranted, and he was working to get the case dismissed. . . .

The elder Castille said the arrest was unwarranted based on reports from witnesses.

"Basically," Jeremiah Castille said, "he was talking to his teammates and horse-playing around."

Jeremiah Castille, who also played at Alabama and has a Christian ministry, said a lawyer representing the family hoped to meet with a representative of the Tuscaloosa Police Department and have the case thrown out.

Coach Nick Saban does not condone Castille's behaviour:

Tuesday August 21, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday cornerback Simeon Castille would be punished "internally" for his early morning arrest on a disorderly conduct charge, the fourth arrest in the same off-campus bar district this summer.

Saban said he had already settled on what the punishment would be but would not say if it includes a game suspension leading up to the opener Sept. 1 against Western Carolina.

"This is not the kind of behavior that we want in the program," Saban said in is first public comments on Castille's arrest over the weekend. "We will correct it internally, and I am very hopeful that we will not have these kinds of situations occur in the future."

But went on to say that:
Castille "certainly received a tremendous amount of punishment and embarrassment relative to what he did." He called Castille "one of the finest young men on our team.
Many Alabama fans are, predictably, blaming the police:

Fingers point after Castille’s arrest
City officials endure wrath of UA fans
August 28, 2007

TUSCALOOSA | After more than 33 years, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Ken Swindle is no longer surprised at the reaction whenever a University of Alabama football player runs afoul of the law.

“I think everyone just wants a winning team here at the university," Swindle said. “But you don’t stand in the middle of the street using cuss words and threatening to whip somebody."

The latest subject of fan outrage centers on cornerback Simeon Castille, 21, who is accused of shouting obscenities and holding up traffic at about 2 a.m. Aug. 19 on the Strip. He told police that he was kidding around with teammates in an SUV driving along University Boulevard, but was arrested anyway. . . .

In the wake of Castille’s arrest, Tide fans lit up sports radio phone lines and Internet forums chastising the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

Sports radio host Paul Finebaum has heard such reactions for 16 years.

But the vitriol from the Alabama faithful this time around was beyond the norm, Finebaum said.

“This is about as bad as I’ve ever heard fans rush to judgment on something," he said. “Suddenly, everyone out there seemed to be an expert [on disorderly conduct criteria]. . . .

“No one here has a problem with the officer running over and detaining Simeon," wrote a person identified as “Kchambers" on the Tidesports.com forum on Sunday. “What we have a problem with is him not learning the facts of the situation ... [I]t was just college kids being stupid. He [Castille] should have been scolded and sent home as well as anyone else in that situation."

Another forum poster, who identified himself as a Tuscaloosa attorney, wrote, “The arrest was a huge abuse of police 'power.’ And actually because of who he is, he’ll end up in some kind of agreement that requires some community service or something where anyone else either would not have been arrested or the charge would have been pretty much summarily dropped.

“No city attorney is going to prosecute such a case when there are a dozen witnesses that will say nothing happened other than simple horse play. All the cop had to say was 'move along.’ "

Taking their anger out

Fans haven’t just taken their complaints to talk radio and the Internet.

As of Friday, Swindle said he had received six e-mails from fans, four critical and two positive.

Mayor Walt Maddox said he received two phone calls and an e-mail from fans who questioned everything from the motivation behind Castille’s arrest to Maddox’s attire.

“In your picture from the city Web site you look like you have on an Auburn tie Mr. Mayor. Do you?" asked “Bobby" in an e-mail. “That might be another factor to study about."
For his part, Castille notes that the experience has been educational:
Tide's Castille 'learned a lot' since arrest

August 24, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille said he has learned a lesson from his early morning arrest for disorderly conduct last weekend.

"I've learned a lot, about being responsible and how people see me, how I am in the spotlight and how I need to be more careful about where I am, what I'm doing and that sort of thing," the senior told reporters Thursday. . . .

Castille said Saban was "supportive" and "understanding" after the incident.

"My teammates have been behind me 100 percent, my family definitely," he said. "Ive really been encouraged by people I've run into, friends, family, coaches. They're trying to keep my head up and so have I."

Whatever he learned did not, however, extend to facing up to the legal consequences of his behavior:

Bama's Castille pleads not guilty to charge

Posted: August 27, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama star cornerback Simeon Castille pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge that he shouted to passengers in a car and challenged them to a fight.

The plea on a disorderly conduct charge was entered with the municipal court by his attorney, with a trial date set for Sept. 26. Castille, an All-SEC preseason selection, did not appear in person.

Police accused him of "shouting, cussing and challenging passengers (of a sport utility vehicle) to fight him" as he stood in a street about 2 a.m. on Aug. 19. Castille has said he was joking with teammates in the SUV in an off-campus area called The Strip.

Some joke, at least according to the police report:

I heard someone yell “Fuck” and I turned to see a black male standing in the street, yelling at a green SUV trying to drive east on University Blvd. The suspect was standing beside the rear passenger door and the SUV was not driving away while the suspect was yelling, causing traffic to back up on University Blvd. I also noticed that there was a large crowd standing on the sidewalk next to the suspect that was yell (SIC) at the SUV watching and listening to what was taking place. The suspect continued to cuss at the passengers and challenge them to fight in the street with his words and non-verbal language. I do not remember the exact words he was saying but the meaning was to get out of the SUV and fight in the street where they were standing. The suspect was saying “Fuck” repeatedly and using several other cuss words such as “Bitch.” . . .

After Castille was detained, it became readily apparent to everyone that this was going to be a big story:

I told the suspect that he was being detained because of his wanting to fight in the streets and he stated that he was just kidding with them; that they were his teammates. He then stated he was Simeon Castille. I asked him if he had any I.D. and he said yes, in his back right pocket. He then gave me permission to retrieve it and he was identified as Simeon Castille. I think turned to Sgt. McMillian of the UAPD and handed him Castille’s I.D. and said, “Don’t y’all have to notify coach Saban?” . . .

The officer offered some words of wisdom to Castille, who seemed however, to think another issue was MOST important:

I also told him that he was a member of a nationally recognized school and football team that was representing while in the street yelling and cussing the way he was acting was embarrassing to the school and team. The suspect then stated that it was embarrassing to his family and himself as well. Nothing further was said while enroute to SPC. Once in SPC Officer Daniel walked in and told the suspect that he was a fan but disappointed that he had acted in that manner and was arrested for disorderly conduct. The suspect stated that this was going to hurt his draft status and squatted against the wall and appeared to be crying. The suspect was transported to the county jail shortly after this. No further conversation occurred between the two of us. I was advised that someone made the statement, “What is Saban going to think about this?”

Of course. What does Saban think? Oh yeah. Castille is 'One of the Finest Young Men on our Team'.

At least no one got hurt in this one. . .

No comments: