On Sept. 14, University of Florida running back Chris Rainey was arrested and charged with felony aggravated stalking. Police reported that Rainey texted his girlfriend, “Time to Die (expletive),” while also threatening to break into her home.
Two weeks later, Rainey accepted deferred prosecution on a reduced charge of misdemeanor stalking. The charges will be dropped in six months if Rainey completes 10 hours of community service and participates in domestic violence counseling.
Jason Lieser of the PALM BEACH POST reported that one of the reasons Rainey’s felony charge was reduced was the victim, “issued a statement Sept. 27 saying she was never fearful of Rainey hurting her.”
Rainey, who was the 25th player to be arrested or face charges during coach Urban Meyer’s tenure, was “dismissed” from the team by the coach after the arrest and felony charge.
That dismissal lasted less than a month, as Meyer announced this week that Rainey, who remains on scholarship, has been reinstated to the team. Meyer said of the reinstatement, “I’m disappointed that he violated a core value of our program, but he continues to pay a price for his actions.”
Meyer added that one of those “core values” was for Florida football players to “respect women.”
The willingness to take Rainey back so quickly is all the more ironic considering what Meyer said in 2006 to Stewart Mandel of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED while touting his method of recruiting high school players.
Though Gators coaches couldn’t yet speak with the players in person, they could talk at length with their high-school coaches, teachers, principals, pastors and anyone else with first-hand knowledge about the prospects.
“I always like to ask a female at the school — a secretary, or someone coming down the hall,” said Meyer. “It’s important a kid has respect women. And they [the women] will tell you the truth.”
In a short blog post for the ORLANDO SENTINEL today, columnist Mike Bianchi asked an interesting question about Meyer:
Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer is in the process of allowing Chris Rainey back onto the UF football team.
I just have one question about the decision:
If Rainey had threatened one of Meyer’s own daughters with a text message that said “Time to die (expletive)” would Rainey be allowed back on the team?
If Meyer can honestly answer that question “yes” then he made the right decision.
How would you answer that question?
If Meyer’s treatment of his wife and daughter during his resignation-fakeout is any indication, Bianchi has his answer.