Twice in a little over a month, two members of Charlie Strong‘s USF football team have been arrested in connection to violent incidents. Despite the fact that the first-year head coach didn’t recruit the players, he’s being held very publicly accountable by one very vocal individual.
Bulls defensive end LaDarrius Jackson was arrested Monday night on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. In late March, defensive back Hassan Childs was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot during a weekend incident. A day later, Childs was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession in connection to a road-rage incident the night he was shot. Childs allegedly pointed a gun at least twice at a man, Jovanni Jimenez, and his family and was ultimately shot three times by Jimenez.
At Jackson’s preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Judge Margaret Taylor, a USF graduate, blistered Strong with a very strong public rebuke, questioning whether, in light of the arrests, the coach has control over his team and players. The judge also implored Strong, long admired by those inside college football and even out for his strict adherence to his “Five Core Values,” “to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.”
Below is the transcript of Judge Taylor’s blistering rebuke of Strong as well as Jackson, courtesy of WTSP.com in Tampa:
I graduated from USF, I’m an alumni, graduated from USF in 1989, long before there was a football team. And while USF may not be the top-ranked school in the nation, I was never ashamed of being an alum until now.
“Embarrassed and ashamed, Mr. Jackson. Let’s just say that my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now.
“And, I have a message for your coach, as well. Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies. This court, and I’m sure I’m not alone, questions whether you have control over your players. It’s fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field.
“I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.
“Mr. Jackson, again assuming the facts surrounding your charges are true, your behavior is reprehensible.
Childs was dismissed by Strong on the same day he was charged. Jackson has been indefinitely suspended since his arrest Monday.
(Tip O’ the Cap: our buddy Zach Barnett)