When it comes to one of the more bizarre storylines of this offseason, they can indeed just get along.
Then-USF defensive end LaDarrius Jackson was arrested earlier this month on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. At Jackson’s initial court appearance last week, Judge Margaret Taylor, a USF graduate, ripped into both the player and, in particular, his head coach, Charlie Strong. In a blistering diatribe that quickly went viral, the judge questioned whether the head coach has control of his players off the field because of two recent violent felony arrests as well as imploring Strong “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.”
The public tongue-lashing forced Strong to issue a public statement defending himself and his football program, saying in part that “[w]e have wonderful young men in the USF football program who choose to do the right thing every day.”
It was a very positive conversation,” reported Chief Judge Ron Ficarrotta, who met Strong for coffee and asked if he would be willing to meet with the judge who gave him the dressing-down. Strong agreed, and the two spoke for about ten minutes in the chief judge’s chambers.
“I think Coach Strong was able to educate Judge Taylor on some of the issues,” Ficarrotta said. “It went very well.
Neither parties publicly commented on the meeting, although a USF spokesperson told the Times that the coach “appreciated the judge reaching out to him.”
“[It was]a very good meeting on both sides,” USF associated director of communications Brian Siegrest said according to the newspaper. “And they both left with a good understanding.”
Jackson was arrested again Wednesday on sexual battery and false imprisonment charges. He was summarily dismissed by Strong the same day.
Bulls defensive back Hassan Childs was hospitalized in stable condition after being shot in late March. 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.
Childs too was dismissed from the football program.