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Saban addresses D.J. Pettway’s ‘horrible decision,’ return

Nick Saban AP

It’s not often we devote a single post to a junior college signee, let alone multiple ones. D.J. Pettway, though, is no normal JUCO addition.

The defensive lineman, a four-star Alabama recruit in 2011, was dismissed by the Tide in February of this year after being charged with two felony counts related to the beating and robbery of a UA student.  Two days after Pettway proclaimed he was back with the Tide following a season at the JUCO level, UA confirmed the player’s return. Because of the resulting controversy, the school’s athletic director even felt compelled to release a statement addressing said return.

Absent, though, was a public comment from The Process One. Until now.

Sunday night, Nick Saban addressed the decision to both allow Pettway back into the football program specifically and to the university in general.  And, for posterity, here are the Alabama head coach’s Pettway quotes, by way of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

“The university made some things that this particular guy (D.J. Pettway) could do and if he did all those things, they would look at letting him back in school. Based on what he did, based on his punishment and penalty, and based on what was required for him to go through a series of things, the university would make a decision to let him back in school, which he wanted to come back. He did all of those things. The university made a decision that he could come back. We made a decision that we wanted him back. We know D.J. Pettway very well. He certainly made a mistake in terms of what he did. We felt that this one person, because he did the things he was required to do, deserved a second chance.”

“D.J. was never a bad guy when he was here. We never had a lot of problems with him before. He did make a horrible decision to be involved with this incident but his involvement and the severity of his punishment was based on his involvement. Those are the guidelines that were set for him to get an opportunity to come back.”

The incident to which Saban attaches the “horrible decision” label involved three UA football players, including Pettway, accused of “[punching] a student’s head and face and [kicking] him in the ribs and back area.”   The three — Pettway, linebacker Tyler Hayes and defensive back Eddie Williams — were charged with two counts each of felony second-degree robbery, with the charges related to the theft of an Apple laptop as well as a debit card. Running back Brent Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card that was stolen in the attack.  All four were ultimately dismissed.

According to Saban, Pettway was the only one of the four who “[had the] opportunity” to return.

As for how Pettway wound his way back to Tuscaloosa, Saban acknowledged a potential return was discussed in the immediacy of the lineman’s dismissal.

“I told D.J. when the die was cast and this happened that if he did the things he was supposed to do we would certainly take it into consideration based on how he manages himself and things from now to coming back,” Saban said. “Until the university made the decision to allow him back in school, or cleared us to be able to recruit him, so we thought he could get back in school, we didn’t have any communication with him.”

As Yoda would say, stinks to high Heaven, this one does.

Or, as Mr. Vader once noted, the farce is strong with this one…

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39 Responses to “Saban addresses D.J. Pettway’s ‘horrible decision,’ return”
  1. waynefontes says: Dec 23, 2013 7:49 AM

    There are a lot of things that could be considered a horrible decision. Beating and robbing someone isn’t a horrible decision. It’s the act of a thug who doesn’t deserve the opportunity to play college football at any level.

    “D.J. was never a bad guy when he was here.”

    Either he was a very bad guy or made very poor decisions. Assault and theft aren’t bad decisions or decisions made by good guys.

    He’s a scumbag, and the fact that he can play football overlooks his criminal acts. What a shame.

  2. mauldawg says: Dec 23, 2013 8:01 AM

    NS will do what ever it takes to win. Cant stand the site of him. Winning a football game is more important to him than anything else. I mean all he did was punch and kick a student in the face and back. two felony charges and was a good kid. What a bunch of BS. He did nothing wrong while he was here. Where did the beatings happen. Wasn’t this scum bag a student at Alabama? NS is pure trash.

  3. longtallsam says: Dec 23, 2013 8:32 AM

    It seems like the “horrible decision” was the one Saban made.

  4. irish1958 says: Dec 23, 2013 8:50 AM

    What do you have to do at Alabama to be permanently banned from football? Apparently, two felonies aren’t enough.

  5. mediocrebob says: Dec 23, 2013 8:58 AM

    I’m a fan of second chances. Kids make mistakes.

    Most kids don’t beat and rob people though. I wonder if this guy has any priors?

  6. louhudson23 says: Dec 23, 2013 9:14 AM

    He never laid a hand on anyone. He also did nothing to stop it and he hung around while it happened. He immediately said he had no one to blame but himself and that he deserved and would accept whatever punishment he received. Because of that,he offered an opportunity to possibly return,based upon his conduct and accomplishing certain requirements. He did and they let him back in. Is that really so hard to understand?

  7. taintedlombardis says: Dec 23, 2013 9:29 AM

    This is why, despite all the on-field success, Alabama remains a joke.

  8. wadaea says: Dec 23, 2013 9:51 AM

    I thought only thugs went to georgia. Well send him over here to Auburn and we will make productive human beings out of them like we did with Cam and Nick.

  9. mediocrebob says: Dec 23, 2013 10:12 AM

    I guess I don’t know the whole story, but rarely is someone kicked out of school for just being in the general area of a robbery and assault and not being a Good Samaritan.

    Again, I don’t know what happened, but that seems like a harsh penalty for just being there.

  10. rabbi187 says: Dec 23, 2013 10:40 AM

    And this is precisely why I didn’t want this piece of garbage at Texas. The SEC would allow the Georgia State Penitentiary to their conference if it meant more national titles…

  11. imaduffer says: Dec 23, 2013 11:07 AM

    I didn’t realize that Pettway was the victim. Thanks for clearing that up Coach Saban.

  12. thekatman says: Dec 23, 2013 11:34 AM

    Ya know sports gans, Saban is a very competitive guy and the one college football record he doesn’t have is fielding the largest number of criminals and excons on the team. Urban Myer has the ownership of that record, just at Florida, of 25 kids doing jail time during his 5 yrs there. That doesn’t include the ones playing for him now at Ohio State.

  13. bigthyme93 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:36 AM

    I like how u idiots are commenting on this kids reinstatement to the team for an apparent transgression. What he did was wrong and he made amends now let it go. If it is good for the university then it should be good for u!! U obviously have no clue as to the dynamics of college football in particular on this level. A mediocre season and everyone is mad.. let me tell u something, it’s about money and make no damn mistake about it. U wanna dispute the decision then I suggest u follow the money and Ur answer will be loud and clear why he was reinstated to play college football.

  14. dcviking says: Dec 23, 2013 11:42 AM

    Still wondering what his legal status is? Did he get convicted and if so, what was the sentence?

    I’d be OK with him getting re-instated to the university and the football team if the victim thought it was OK. Or, if he paid his own way rather than got a free ride.

    I’m all for second chances, but at the same time, bad decisions have consequences —- no matter what age you are.

    I’m guessing the people who think its so obvious that he should be reinstated, don’t have kids.

    Seriously, people wonder why this country is decaying…

  15. dadto4boys says: Dec 23, 2013 12:05 PM

    Well I had no idea I was in the presence of perfect people whom have never done something they regret, been somewhere at
    the wrong time or have never needed a second chance. Thank God you people weren’t around when they use to stone folks! I don’t understand why everyone has such a problem with Coach Saban giving this man a second chance. Didn’t we all get one of those at some point In our lives?

  16. mogogo1 says: Dec 23, 2013 12:28 PM

    “Didn’t we all get one of those at some point In our lives?”
    _______________

    Sure. But that second chance is VERY often at some other place than where our original transgression occurred. Not a lot of embezzlers get hired back at the company they stole from, for example. This dude helped beat down and rob another Alabama student. At some point, doesn’t giving second chances take a backseat to keeping the rest of the student body safe?

  17. erockfox says: Dec 23, 2013 12:38 PM

    Would a normal student have been readmitted to Alabama if they had 2 felony accounts from beating up another student?

    Is Pettaway receiving his scholarship back, or is he going to be a walk-on? I’d expect there to be even more outrage over this if he’s given a scholarship back.

  18. tttrojan4life says: Dec 23, 2013 2:10 PM

    What do you all expect from Alabama? It’s a football factory only, the academics are on par with most junior high schools. Thus they must overlook this criminal’s “mistake”

    If you want to be a football player, go there. If you want anything academic, you’d better go somewhere else.

  19. Deb says: Dec 23, 2013 2:16 PM

    I honestly don’t know what to say. Nick Marshall, Zach Mettenberger, and Cam Newton had criminal histories before going on to quarterback FBS programs. But for some reason, Pettaway’s history should deny him any future chance to play Division I ball for a major program? If you guys say so. Can’t say I’m surprised. Double standards r us on the football blogs.

    The kid has met his legal obligation and is entitled to resume his life. Alabama is hip deep in talent, so I don’t care whether he plays for us. But it’s ridiculous to say he should never play anywhere.

  20. dcviking says: Dec 23, 2013 2:21 PM

    @Deb –

    Serious, not sarcastic question:

    What legal obligations did he meet? Was he convicted of something, or what did he plead to?

  21. pmaxhen says: Dec 23, 2013 2:28 PM

    Anyone remember the article when this first happened? Where are all those alabama fan’s?

    Wonder how the students that were robbed feel.

  22. pmaxhen says: Dec 23, 2013 2:32 PM

    @Deb Every player you listed was not allowed back at the school because the people they effected still attended the school. The two people effected in this case are still attending Alabama. What a great environment Alabama must have, I’d imagine it’s much like a prison yard.

  23. pmaxhen says: Dec 23, 2013 2:50 PM

    @bigthyme93 You just called everyone idiots then used “U” instead of “you” over and over again.

    Everything you said could qualify as the most ignorant thing I’ve ever read. That article on out kick the coverage about Alabama fan’s being the dumbest in the country couldn’t be more true.

  24. lowtalker says: Dec 23, 2013 2:55 PM

    Can any Alabama fan or an admirer of Saban honestly say they are proud today???

  25. thegonz13 says: Dec 23, 2013 2:55 PM

    It’s the “we never had a lot of problems with this guy” part that bugs me.

    This implies that problems may not have been many but still they had some problems with him.

  26. louhudson23 says: Dec 23, 2013 3:26 PM

    The ignorance and whining in response to this is disgusting.But hey, W.A.B.’s gonna whine…

  27. mogogo1 says: Dec 23, 2013 5:10 PM

    Deb says:

    I honestly don’t know what to say. … But it’s ridiculous to say he should never play anywhere.
    _________

    Classic strawman argument. Nobody said he shouldn’t be able to play SOMEPLACE (assuming he met academic standards, etc.). But to be greeted back with open arms to the school where he assaulted and robbed another student? If he’d beat down on your kid, you’d be perfectly cool with this situation?

  28. Deb says: Dec 23, 2013 9:45 PM

    dcviking says:

    @Deb –

    Serious, not sarcastic question:

    What legal obligations did he meet? Was he convicted of something, or what did he plead to?
    ————————————————–
    When I said he’d met his legal obligations, it was because that’s obvious. If he hadn’t met his legal obligations–satisfied the criminal justice system–he wouldn’t be in a position to play at Alabama or anywhere else.

    However, I’m spending the holidays in Tuscaloosa with the attorneys in he family. It’s now my understanding that Pettway was accepted into Alabama’s pretrial diversion program–which means a) he was not charged with one of the more serious felonies in this case, and b) the records are sealed. So all the people on this thread talking about all the horrible things he’s done are talking without having any base of knowledge.

    As I posted on another thread, our society needs to do some serious thinking about our criminal justice system. I believe some offenses–sexual predator, for one–can not be rehabilitated. But those offenders released back into society after serving their time or meeting whatever obligations the court decides must be free to pursue employment without restrictions in order to be productive members of society. So football players should be able to play for any program willing to give them a second chance no matter how many rival fans want to piss and moan.

    Pettway is a free man. If people don’t wish to attend the same university he is attending, they are free to transfer. He didn’t get a life sentence–and no one has the right to impose one or to restrict his movements.

  29. Deb says: Dec 23, 2013 9:54 PM

    @mogogo1 …

    I think the classic strawman argument is to dismiss another person’s comments by calling them a strawman argument. I’m not playing Debate Class, just stating a fact: Pettway is a free man and can attend school or work anyplace he chooses whether or not you think he should. He should get a second change. And since his court records were sealed, you know only that he was involved, but have no idea whether he personally beat down on anyone’skid.

    As for how I’d feel … I’ve had two kids in my family murdered by other kids. One assailant was never caught; the other is serving a life sentence. With the memory of those losses in the back of my mind, if my kid were beat down, I’d just be glad he walked away.

  30. nawlinssaints1956 says: Dec 23, 2013 10:02 PM

    Well stated Deb. So many posters just want to believe what the want to believe; others seem to be clueless. Maybe NBC Sports Talk can require posters to pass a Wonderlic Test in order to participate. It would certainly cut down on the LCD element that permeates the Boards…

  31. Deb says: Dec 23, 2013 10:18 PM

    Thanks, nawlinssaints1956. I agree ;)

    But … I incorrectly stated that Pettway was put into the Pretrial Diversion Program, and it was the Youthful Offender Program–that’s why the records were sealed. Everything else is correct. And he also had to meet criteria set forth by the University in order to be reinstated there.

  32. jjbadd385 says: Dec 24, 2013 9:24 AM

    If he were WHITE, he would have never gotten a 2nd chance! Boy, this race card thing is fun!

  33. patall24 says: Dec 24, 2013 6:49 PM

    Ahh more people who have nothing better to do than try and bash Alabama football. He is the only one of the four that would be considered to come back under certain guidelines and restrictions. And for you fu**s who bring in the racial card are you serious look at Michael Vick I bet youl had nothing to say then. Ohh the people who have nothing better to do than try and bash Bama football and Saban. Get a life sorry your team sucks!

  34. dwoodby32404 says: Dec 25, 2013 2:13 PM

    @mediocrebob and the others:

    Since there seems to be some question, I can answer it for you. Yes sir, in Alabama you can be charged as a principal (not an accessory after the fact) if you are present when a felony is committed and do nothing to stop it. This is how the ‘lookouts’ at a burglary are charged with burglary when they didn’t actually enter the dwelling or building.

    I am certain this young man satisfied the requirements of the Court and the requirements of the University. Regardless of your opinion of the Courts System, The University of Alabama, or of Coach Saban, I have never been given reason to doubt the integrity of any of them.

    To Mr. Pettway: Congratulations on your success. Just remember what I have told all 9 of my own children. You are judged, fairly or unfairly, by the company you keep. Stick with Coach Saban and you won’t have any more troubles.

  35. friarjack61 says: Dec 27, 2013 9:45 AM

    Do college football felons attend classes ? Seldom do you ever hear a sportscaster mention the academics of any football or basketball players. Did you ever wonder ??

  36. dhardy8207 says: Dec 28, 2013 9:35 AM

    I know someone who works in the athletics department at UA and from what I’m told DJ immediately admitted that he was there and witnessed the incident but didn’t step in and stop it. Peer pressure or not “ratting” on his peers I’m sure played a major part. Not a smart thing to do by any means but something not unexpected from a college kid.

    As for trashing the UA football program or Saban is laughable. UA’s graduation rate is above average especially amongst the players and that has increased moreso since Coach Saban came there in 2007.

    DJ has completed and upheld the requirements by the courts. He didn’t just drop out of school totally he committed to a JUCO who gave UA an exceptionally good report on his stint there, the same as with Cam Newton back in 2009.

  37. mikewatza says: Dec 29, 2013 10:05 AM

    December 29, 2013: The BIG10, counting 2014 new members Rutgers and Maryland, and “former Div I programs like Michigan”, is 0-4 in Bowls so far, and we haven’t played any of the really good teams yet. While winning isn’t everything, as Mark D’Antonio is proving by dismissal of his star defensive quarteback prior to our BCS bowl appearance, it is a barometer of where the conference stands with others, and right now, it isn’t looking too competetive. On the other hand, while we have our share of occasional thugs, “mostly at Ohio State”, unlike in conferences such as the SEC where convicts are actively recruited, we do tend to draw a line at actual robbery and beatings. So win or lose the rest of the Bowls, I love the BIG10 and its 100 year old rivalries and if we end up just playing ourselves and some Ivy League Schools, I’m truly fine with that. Its still real College Football here in the Midwest, not a Prison Rehab program, and I think we are all clearly better off with that.

  38. wadaea says: Dec 29, 2013 12:15 PM

    mikewatza you should be so proud of Michigan
    ‘During a conference call yesterday with University officials and members of the media, Paul Dee, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, said the penalties from the NCAA also include a public scolding and censure of the University and a stipulation that Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez must attend the 2011 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. Additionally, University officials imposed reductions to the amount of time the Michigan football team can practice — 130 hours in total through the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.

    Experts interviewed by The Michigan Daily said the additional one year of probation on top of what the University had self-imposed didn’t seem out of line for the nature of the case. They also said it was important to note that the NCAA had downgraded the charge against Rodriguez from a charge that he had failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance to the finding that he failed to adequately monitor his program.

    The initial allegation against Rodriguez that he had failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance, Dee said, was changed to a violation of NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 because the committee felt that Rodriguez failed to properly oversee the program, not that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

  39. dhardy8207 says: Dec 29, 2013 12:49 PM

    mikewatza says;

    “unlike in conferences such as the SEC where convicts are actively recruited, we do tend to draw a line at actual robbery and beatings.”

    “Its still real College Football here in the Midwest, not a Prison Rehab program, and I think we are all clearly better off with that.”

    ————————————————–
    That is absolutely hilarious that you state “where convicts are actively recruited”. Please back that up with FACTS where Saban actively recruits convicts. You can’t! And your opinions don’t count as FACTS…

    Secondly, DJ never went to “Prison” and was not apart of a “prison rehab program”. He admitted he did the wrong thing by not reporting or sticking around to witness what happened. He did what was required to satisfy the courts and went further by enrolling at a JUCCO just as several players in the past have and thats not just an SEC thing it happens in every conference. Further more please back up with FACTS any player that has been recruited to BAMA that has a known prison record.

    I know its so easy to kick some other program when yours is not as successful.

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