As if Kansas Jayhawk big man Thomas Robinson hadn't already dealt with enough this year, he now has a legal issue on his hands.
Robinson has been cited to appear on a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an incident at a nightclub called The Cave in Lawrence. Robinson, who is 20 years old but was not under the influence of alcohol, was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with one or two men outside of the club. Brady McCollough has the deets:
A statement by the Lawrence Police Department said that officers were called to The Cave around 2:05 a.m. on the morning in question because of a fight. Officers arrived to find a large group of people outside the night club yelling and walking around the area. One victim, a 25-year-old male who resides in Lawrence, alleged that Robinson had struck him and then spit on him.
A witness reported that a large fight had broken out inside the bar as it was closing. Bar staff moved the conflict outside, where the witness observed the alleged battery. The witness also observed an unidentified second suspect, said to be around 6 feet, 7 inches tall, hit another victim, a 23-year-old Lawrence resident.
KUSports.com has some more information:
Adam Lauridsen, a bouncer at The Cave who worked the night of the incident, told the Journal-World that several members of the basketball team were outside the bar around closing time as staff members were clearing people out of the club."We are aware of this situation," Kansas head coach Bill Self said on Tuesday morning in a statement, "due to the fact that Thomas notified me immediately following his being interviewed by the police that morning, at approximately 2 a.m. about an incident that occurred just prior. Thomas is fully cooperating and we will not have any further comment about this situation as the investigation plays out."
One of the people who was accompanying basketball players — but not himself a player — got angry at another bouncer, Lauridsen said, and eventually hit him in the head.
Several members of the basketball team — including Robinson — began pulling the man away from the other bouncer, Lauridsen said.
During that scuffle, he saw Robinson appear to get angry.
“He hit one of my buddies in the head,” Lauridsen said, adding that he also saw Robinson spit on the bouncer.
There are a couple of things to look at here.
For starters, this is far from the first legal run-in that the Kansas basketball team has had in recent years. Who can forget the battle royal that the Jayhawks had with their football playing counterparts a year and a half ago, a scrap that created the term "Point Plankn"? Then there was Markieff Morris' arrest for drunkenly shooting people with a BB gun. And Brady Morningstar's DUI. And Mario Little's arrest for domestic assault back in December. Sherron Collins was accused of exposing himself to a cleaning lady in his dorm in 2007. Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were kicked out of the NBA's rookie camp in 2008.
The other point that must be made is that Robinson can no longer afford incidents like this. Getting charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from a fight in college is, in the grand scheme of things, not that big of a deal. Even if Robinson was drunk. We were all 20 years old once. The majority of us drank underage. And I'm willing to bet that the majority of the folks that drank underage lost their temper upon occasion when their veins were flowing with liquid courage.
Robinson, however, is in a unique circumstance. It was reported all season long that his goal was to one day gain custody of his younger sister. One way to make a court wary of providing a 20 year old the responsibility of taking care of a child is to get in fights at two o'clock in the morning.
That said, I think that we have to give Robinson the benefit of the doubt in this instance.
No one (I should say that I truly hope no one) has had to experience what Robinson has experienced over the last four or five months. And now he no longer has the basketball season to keep him focused -- or distracted, depending on how you look at it.
One incident can be interpreted as a mistake by a young man dealing with a tremendous amount of stress and emotion. Another incident, and it becomes a bigger problem.