When Kansas first wrist-slapped star running back Pooka Williams with a 1-game suspension, it was my opinion that Kansas would have been better off from a public-relations standpoint not suspending Williams at all than sitting him a single game.
The thinking is this: no suspension, while seemingly heartless and tone deaf on the outset, is at least intellectually consistent. If the law says they can play, you’re telling the public with no suspension, we’re going to play them.
However, a 1-game suspension puts you on a tightrope that’s almost impossible to successfully navigate. Like, for instance, you might try to on one hand say there’s no place in your program for men who hit women, and on the other explain why you’re suspending a man who hit a woman for only one game. Which is exactly what Les Miles did on Monday at Big 12 media days.
“There is no proper way to put it: there is no violence. Violence will not be accepted with women, period,” Miles said.
“Action was taken immediately. We felt like a strong point was made, not only with Pooka but with the team, the idea that for seven and a half months Pooka was going through a process and he didn’t have the opportunity to spend time with his team, go to the weight room, just be a part. Pooka went through a legal investigation with the legal community, Pooka also had a proceedings that went through the conduct board at the university and he basically understood very much that if he did not meet the criteria that the board asks, this would not last long, and he really met every criteria that he could.
“He’s taken responsibility, he’s been remorseful. He’s learned from this experience, as has our team. We’re thankful to have him back. And, again, no violence against a woman is okay.”
That last paragraph really says it all, doesn’t it?
“He’s taken responsibility.” Well, okay. Taking responsibility for your actions should be expected of every middle school football player in America.
“We’re thankful to have have him back.” Of course you are. Williams ran for 1,125 yards on 6.99 yards a carry as a freshman, making him the first KU football player to make the All-Big 12 First Team offense since 2009.
“And, again, no violence against a woman is okay.”
So, why is he still on the team then?
In the end, the 1-game suspension still makes Kansas look heartless and tone deaf, only they’re the only ones who don’t realize it.