Memphis Tigers' Players Have Long History Of Legal Trouble
Reported by: Sarah Buduson, Eyewitnessnews ABC 24, Memphis
Last Update: 9/04 1:21 pm
Two Tiger Players In Court Tuesday, September 4th
Two Memphis Tigers basketball players arrested at the Plush Club on Beale Street. Two Memphis Tigers arrested on Beale Street early Sunday morning, September 2, 2007, are far from the first of the men’s basketball team to have trouble with the law. Shawn Taggart and Jeff Robinson were taken into custody after a fight at the Plush Club on Beale Street. Both players are charged with inciting a riot and disorderly conduct. Robinson is also charged with assault for inflicting bodily harm. Taggart and Robinson will face a judge in Shelby County Court Tuesday, September 4, 2007. Memphis Tigers’ Coach John Calipari says other Tigers’ players were also at the Plush Club on Saturday night, September 1st.
In October 2006, players Joey Dorsey and Hashim Bailey were accused of assault last October. Two women who attend the University of Memphis say the players threatened them and tried to run them over with a car. Earlier that year, former Memphis Tiger Kareem Cooper was arrested for marijuana possession.
The year before, current team member Andre Allen was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Former star guard Jeremy Hunt was also arrested in 2005. He was accused of beating up his girlfriend. He was later kicked off the team for getting into a bar fight.
During a news conference Sunday, Tigers’ coach John Calipari said he was angry and disappointed by Sunday’s arrests. He has now banned his team from hanging out at nightclubs. He has also imposed a midnight curfew for its members. He says, “They're held to a higher standard. And either accept it or go somewhere else.”
Team boosters are supporting Calipari and the players. Harold Byrd is the president of The Rebounders. The group is the Memphis Tigers’ official booster team. He says he is disappointed by the players’ arrests, but believes Taggart and Robinson should get a second chance. He says, “These are 18,19, year old kids and kids do the darndest things.” Byrd also believes Coach Calipari has taken the appropriate steps to discipline his players following the arrests. Byrd adds, “So they were out too late, they were at the wrong place, but Coach Calipari has taken action quickly, he's put the players on notice that this is not going to be tolerated.”
Byrd hopes the players will follow the rules because the pay off could be a national title. He says, “If they do what they're supposed to do at the end of this year, then they're going to be smiling and congratulating each other and enjoying a national basketball championship.”
The upcoming season may be the best chance the Tigers have ever had at clawing their way to winning the NCAA championship. The team is ranked first in many preseason polls. The team has made it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament for the last two years.