Saturday, June 13, 2015

Baylor Basketball Player Arrested For Stealing From Walmart

By Keenan Mann

The headline above was enough to grab my attention.  The story attached to it from the Waco Tribune is below:

"Baylor University basketball forward Rico Gathers was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing various household items from the Wal-Mart on Franklin Avenue.

The incident happened on June 1.

A store employee told police that a man he recognized as Gathers placed two pillows, a tote bag, a water dispenser and a trash can in a cart and left the store without stopping to pay for the items, according to an arrest affidavit.

The employee provided police with video from the incident, telling police the items were valued at $171, the affidavit said.

Gathers, 21, who is married and has a 1-year-old son, was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft under $500. He was released from the McLennan County Jail Wednesday after posting a $1,000 bond.

Baylor coach Scott Drew released a statement about Gathers’ arrest Wednesday afternoon.
“We are aware of the situation involving Rico Gathers and are in the process of gathering the facts to determine what transpired,” Drew said. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.”

Gathers, who is from LaPlace, Louisiana, is entering his fourth season at Baylor. Last year he led the Bears in rebounding at 11.6 per game and was second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game.

He led the Big 12 Conference with 16 double-doubles, more than twice as many as any other player in the league, and was named first-team All-Big 12.

Last season Gathers broke the oldest individual record in Baylor basketball’s record book when he pulled down 28 rebounds in a win over Huston-Tillotson."

Okay, the facts seem  clear enough.  Mr. Gathers committed a criminal act for which he should face the consequences.  No argument from me there.  But Mr. Gathers does not at all seem to me to be your run-of-the-mill petty criminal.  

First off, he seems pretty responsible (shoplifting incident aside). Why do I say that?  Well, he's managed to make it to his senior year in college, he's 21, and has married the mother of his child.  

Second off, he's a hell of a hard worker.  How do I know?  Well he had 16 games where he had double figures in points and rebounds.  On top of that, he average double figure rebounds for the season.  Those are not easy things to do, and while they don't necessarily translate into an off-the-court work ethic, they are at least pretty good indicators.

My point here is that there is a 'dog that didn't bark'.  Sure, the newspaper headline barked that there was another criminal student-athlete who got busted, but what didn't get said?  

Before I share my thoughts on that, let me provide a bit of background for those of you unfamiliar with my Sherlock Holmes reference about the barking dog.   There was a story called The Hound of the Baskervilles in which Detective Holmes was called to an old English manor to solve the murder of the owner of the manor, which had occurred during the previous night.  As he he approached the house, Detective Holmes couldn't help but take note of the incessant barking of the dog.  Later, when getting details from people in the house he had an exchange where he pointed out the dog's noteworthy behavior:

From The Hound of the Baskervilles

Gregory : "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" 
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." 
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time." 
Holmes: "That was the curious incident." 

From the absence of barking in the night-time, Detective Holmes correctly deduced that the dog must have known the intruder.  As it turned out, the intruder/criminal mastermind stood to make a fortune from eliminating the the owner.

So what's curious to me about the Case of the Basketball Thief ?  

It's that no one has pointed out how odd it is that a student at a school with one of the most well funded athletic departments in the country couldn't come up with $171 for some essential household items.  

The coach didn't point this curiosity out.  Nor did anyone from the NCAA.  

They are both making a fortune off Mr. Gathers and his fellow high profile athletes around the country.

I would imagine that, if asked, the NCAA would argue that the $2,000 that they have generously allowed Mr. Gathers to legally earn while working as a student athlete should have been sufficient.

It obviously wasn't.

Again, a crime is a crime, so Mr. Gathers must pay for his.  But perhaps it's time to make crimes of some things that are currently legal so some others might be forced to adjust their behavior or be brought to justice.


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