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Alabama releases statement on D.J. Pettway’s return

D.J. Pettway

Wednesday was the first day players from the junior college level were permitted to sign with FBS programs.  In a surprising twist to some, both D.J. Pettway and Eastern Mississippi Community College announced that the defensive lineman had signed with Alabama.

Last February, Pettway was one of three Tide football players arrested and charged with robbery in connection to the beating of a UA student.  All three players were dismissed two weeks after the incident surfaced publicly, with a fourth player dismissed after he was charged with using a debit card stolen in the attack.

While most football programs were busy announcing its JUCO signings Wednesday, Alabama had been strangely silent on Pettway’s return.  Until now.

This afternoon, the Tide confirmed that Pettway was one of two JUCO players signed earlier in the week.  Shortly after that release, a statement attributed to UA athletic director Bill Battle was sent out to the Tuscaloosa News (vaguely) addressing Pettway’s addition to both the roster and the university.

“One of our primary points of emphasis in college athletics is to make every effort to help develop the total person. As part of the University community, there is an obligation on the part of the student-athlete, the University and the Athletics Department in helping each person that represents us to reach their potential. On occasion, there are special circumstances that arise, particularly when a young person takes the first steps on their own to earn the privilege of attending our University. We treat every disciplinary case with care and sensitivity to all involved and we respect the University’s procedures regarding punishment and readmission. We understand our responsibility, not only to the University and the student-athletes, but also to our community and our state.”

So, there’s that.

As for the questions of how Pettway could return after being charged with a pair of felonies and his exact role in the incident, the News writes that “[t]he degree of Pettway’s involvement remains unknown, however he was charged with two counts of second-degree robbery. Due to his youthful offender status, the outcome of the case remains unknown.”

For what it’s worth, Pettway’s coach at EMCC, Jordan Lesleyraved to earlier this week about the player and person he had come to know during the lineman’s brief stint at the school.

“Not an ounce of trouble, not any issue off the field, in the classroom, campus, whatever. Not one single mishap. A lot of times, kids will go a couple different ways with it. A lot of times, it’s somebody else’s fault. … The first time I talked to him, he said, ‘Coach, I made a mistake. That’s really not me. I made a mistake. I’m going to learn from it. I’ve hurt a lot of people in my life and I’ve hurt the University of Alabama. I’ve hurt myself. What do I need to do?’

“When he said that, I knew what kind of kid I was dealing with. If he ever needed me, I was there for him. Watching him grow a little bit as a player but a lot as a man was a really good experience for me. I enjoyed being around him every day. He’ll be fine. He’s going to do some great things.”

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25 Responses to “Alabama releases statement on D.J. Pettway’s return”
  1. mauldawg says: Dec 20, 2013 5:02 PM

    NS what a saint!! He could care less about the player unless he thinks he can help the team win. He is just another scum coach looking out himself and wanting everyone to think he is a good guy.

  2. amosalanzostagg says: Dec 20, 2013 5:04 PM

    This is the season for St. Nick.


  3. ttalarico says: Dec 20, 2013 5:27 PM

    I hope the young man turns his life around.

    Go Irish!

  4. bamamanchip says: Dec 20, 2013 5:32 PM

    @muddog – I have no idea why your judging and hating on Nick Saban or anybody else . Everybody deserves a second chance this guy was sitting in the car when this all when down but that doesn’t matter either cause like I said everybody deserves a second chance and if you think for on minute that Saban let him come back because he needs players you must not know very much about Alabama football they are loaded with talent and have players backing out from signing there because they have so much talent at every position so you need to check out football at Alabama before you make yourself look any dumber….. I think it was the right thing to do god wants us to have second chances in life now if he messes that up he’s done …

  5. liverpoolred04 says: Dec 20, 2013 5:50 PM

    Part of the “Process”

  6. dhardy8207 says: Dec 20, 2013 6:00 PM

    I personally don’t know of anyone who can say they’ve never made a bad judgement call. Many times youngsters get in to a mess simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, as a matter of a fact that has been the case with some adults finding themselves in a pickle.

    It is human nature to find error in others, its when one has to look and judge their own faults and short commings that judgement rarely meets the standards placed on someone else.

    I hope DJ has it together and keeps it together, I can’t imagine Saban would let him back on unless he has shown he can conduct himself accordingly…

  7. iangas33 says: Dec 20, 2013 6:23 PM

    What kind of dirtbag school takes a player back after he beat a student?

  8. buckeye1nation says: Dec 20, 2013 6:27 PM

    Funny how SEC and Bama fans are defending this guy and his reinstatement, but sell a few items that are yours and all hell breaks loose. Hypocritical much?

  9. gatorcheme says: Dec 20, 2013 7:10 PM

    The truly repentant shall be redeemed.

    “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” -John 8.7.


    While I agree that the NCAA rule on this is flawed, it’s not the selling of personal items that got tOSU into trouble. It was the cover-up that followed.

  10. tbone71 says: Dec 20, 2013 7:26 PM

    It’s funny what some people consider a mistake. Personally i don’t consider a violent robery a mistake and it is a shame that people bend over backwords to rationalize it. Second chance? Are you kidding? Why? Because he can run fast? Wake up people.

  11. 700levelvet says: Dec 20, 2013 7:32 PM

    Bitter Sweet
    Civil War
    Act Naturally
    Black Light
    Student athlete

  12. bralinshan says: Dec 20, 2013 8:09 PM

    DJ Pettway is a good player. However, anyone who thinks Alabama needs him are delusional. Alabama is LOADED beyond any team in college football….and they just replace one HS All American with another one.
    This is clearly a case where a kid did a LOT less than the others and he did what was necessary to fix the situation.
    More power to him. Good programs and coaches know the difference between kids with real issues and a kid who made a mistake and is really a decent person…
    I’m glad that they let him come back and I hope that he makes the most of it…I’m sure that he’s on zero tolerance but my bet is that he’s learned and will be fine.
    Buckeye, Urban probably wouldn’t have even suspended the kid in the first place. Therein lies the difference. And I enjoyed every second of Mich. St. giving Ohio St. the double bird to their NC hopes.

  13. motherscratcher23 says: Dec 20, 2013 10:01 PM

    @bralinshan – Urban Meyer suspended Carlos Hyde for three Games for doing nothing. He wasn’t charged with anything. It’s pretty incredible that you somehow use Saban taking back a kid charged with felonies as some kind of basis to take a moral high ground here. Wow.

  14. tttrojan4life says: Dec 20, 2013 11:01 PM

    What kind of dirtbag school takes a player back after he beat a student?

    1. Alabama
    2. tOSU
    3. Florida

  15. bamamanchip says: Dec 20, 2013 11:05 PM

    What felonies that kid don’t have any the judge cleared him he was only riding in the car some people just love to hate …I’m a Bama fan but I never hate on any other program and sure wouldn’t hate on anyone for giving a young kid a second chance if he was sitting in a car when something happened . That’s just plan wrong to not give some kid a second chance in this matter no matter what school he plays or played for…

  16. bamamanchip says: Dec 20, 2013 11:08 PM

    Do u a little research son cause USC has given second chances too and wouldn’t have done anything in the Reggie Bush thing had they not got caught by NCAA,but they have given second all schools have done things just like this all of them use your computer and do your research son…

  17. Deb says: Dec 21, 2013 1:01 AM

    The law has taken its course and the young man is free to resume his life. It’s absurd to suggest a player who has–by all accounts–made every effort to turn his life around shouldn’t get a second chance. And the only reason people are saying it is because they don’t like Alabama. Fine. Whine on.

    @ttalarico …

    Thanks for the good sportsmanship. It’s rare around here.

    @buckeye1nation …

    OSU was getting hit from all sides during that time, but I don’t recall Bama fans taking anymore shots than any other fans. I defended your players and program–and still think players should be allowed to sell their own memorabilia and autographs. However, as someone else said, it was the coverup that led to the sanctions.

  18. normtide says: Dec 21, 2013 3:44 AM

    Cam Newton, Nick Marshall, Zach Mettenburger, and so many others have gotten into trouble, went juco and then signed with an AQ school. Morally, how is this any different?

  19. louhudson23 says: Dec 21, 2013 7:00 AM

    While facts concerning the incidents in question are in short supply,it has been said since the news broke that Pettway was the one player who took full responsibility for his actions,never downplayed the seriousness of the incident, as well as fully accepted all resulting sanctions and punishment. Supposedly the others involved did not. Whether that is true or not(on his part or the others involved),the words of his JC coach as well as his re-signing by Alabama would seem to indicate the validity of those reports.

  20. tgaustin says: Dec 21, 2013 10:32 AM

    Alabama(Alabama Fan) = Arrogance!! If this were any other school in the country, the same BAMA fans on here would be bashing the hell out of said school! However, when the roll is reversed, they defend it! Classic Arrogance! Pretty sure the mistakes I made when I was that age didn’t include “assault” and “robbery” in them!

    Roll Tide Y’all

  21. buckeye1nation says: Dec 21, 2013 10:34 AM

    @Deb- You are a sensible college football fan and I respect your opinion and views. That being said, there are many fans of the SEC and SEC schools who still slam Pryor and the others involved for what happened. It is those people that I find hypocritical, not you.

    @bralinshan- As stated before, Meyer suspended Hyde for 3 games and he was NEVER charged with anything. As for our “NC hopes”, I stated all year long that we were not a NC caliber team because of our defense and I expect us to struggle in the Orange Bowl the same way we struggled all season with mobile QB’s and a solid receiver.

  22. bamafan10 says: Dec 21, 2013 11:20 AM

    I personally have zero tolerance on these issues. These University’s are not in the business to teach right and wrong on behavior .. These student Athlete’s do represent the school, themselves, and set the standards for the upcoming athletes. If they can learn the sport well enough to play it at a college level then they can also learn how to represent themselves and the school they attend .. Enough Said this should be a given and not an exception … Listen closely Mr. Winston

  23. 1990tiger says: Dec 21, 2013 11:21 AM

    normtide says:

    Cam Newton, Nick Marshall, Zach Mettenburger, and so many others have gotten into trouble, went juco and then signed with an AQ school. Morally, how is this any different?
    I don’t disagree with your logic but the difference to me is the type of infraction and his reinstatement to the same place where he committed his infraction. Admittedly, I am not fully aware of all of the facts surrounding Pettway’s transgression but I understand he was involved in the physical assault and robbery of another student which, to me, is different than the types of infractions committed by the other athletes you mentioned. I do think Pettway deserves another chance I just question whether UA is the right place for that second chance. How would you feel if you were the student who was robbed and you were still enrolled at UA? If it were me, I would feel like my university was slapping me in the face by readmitting him to the school and the football team.

    Note: yes, I am an AU alum and fan but that allegiance and the fact that this involves UA has nothing to do with my position on this issue.

  24. ndrick731 says: Dec 21, 2013 1:59 PM

    What a great guy good old nick is for giving him a second chance. Of course if he was some kid that would not have much of an on the field contribution I wonder if good old nick would be giving him a second chance. Hell no. He wouldn’t even remember his name. Guess that’s why bama has that great 73% graduation rate for its football players. Of course down there in the sec that probably is considered great.

  25. Deb says: Dec 21, 2013 2:12 PM

    @buckeye1nation …

    Thank you.

    @bamafan10 …

    I couldn’t disagree more. As a society, we need to decide what we hope to achieve with our criminal justice system–whether it’s rehabilitation and reintroduction to society, or a breeding ground for lifetime criminals. Experience has taught us some behaviors cannot be rehabilitated. I would include among those sexual predators (and no, I am not talking about Jameis Winston, but about Ted Bundy), child molesters, and people who’ve shown a proclivity for extreme violence. Those individuals should receive sentences that do not allow them back into society.

    But if it’s true, as several have posted, that this young man was in the car when the assault occurred, that he has taken full responsibility for his actions, and that he has worked to make a fresh start, what purpose does it serve to deny him the opportunity to move forward? When you punish people or send them to prison for the short-term, give them no training, teach them nothing positive, and limit their ability to build worthwhile lives afterward … you’re just encouraging them to continue on a dark path.

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