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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Should Louis Holmes be suspended?

    Pro

    Accountability.

    Any college or professional coach knows the importance of the aforementioned word in building a squad the right way.

    Of all the reasons UA men’s basketball head coach Lute Olson has been so successful in his 24-year tenure at Arizona, one of the most important is that he’s held his players accountable for their actions. He has suspended many star players at critical times when it was in the best interest of the team.

    By doing so, Olson has established a program where no one player is bigger than the program, and you see the kind of success he has had both on the court and in producing players for the next level.

    UA football head coach Mike Stoops would love to build a program like Olson’s basketball powerhouse on the gridiron. To do so he would be wise to take a page out of Olson’s book and suspend Louis Holmes after he pleaded guilty to criminal damage following his involvement in a bar fight in Scottsdale.

    This marks Holmes’ second such incident of needing to complete a diversion program after entangling himself in a bar fight, as similar circumstances arose before the defensive end arrived at Arizona in April 2005.

    Sure, losing Holmes for the season opener at Brigham Young would be a big blow, but this is Stoops’ chance to send a message to his team that such acts won’t be tolerated, whether you’re Louis Holmes or the fourth-string offensive guard. That also means that waiting until the second game against NAU won’t fly because Stoops needs to show that no player is bigger than the team or any particular game.

    Stoops has said he will keep any disciplinary action between himself and Holmes, but the punishment needs to be a public matter to show in the open that Stoops is taking care of business.

    After all, what does a program have if there’s no accountability?

    -Michael Schwartz
    assistant sports editor


    Con

    In a word: No. Louis Holmes was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn’t rob anybody, he didn’t stab or shoot anybody, he didn’t steal anything; he just got in an argument with someone in a public place, and the police eventually became involved.

    That might sound like a clichǸ defense, but that’s what the facts show. Mike Labinjo, 27, is

    Holmes’ friend and was with him at the nightclub July 1.

    Labinjo said Holmes and a man known as “”Chris”” were arguing about a girl at the nightclub, according to police reports. Labinjo said “”Chris”” threw a punch at Holmes, which missed, and the bouncer only saw Holmes’ instinctive act of self-defense.

    When police arrived, Holmes had been pepper-sprayed and the only other thing that can be proven to happen to anyone else involved was a doorman’s blazer got torn in the scuffle.

    At the end of the night, Holmes was charged with criminal damage and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. The latter would eventually be dropped.

    Last football season, Oklahoma linebacker Rufus Alexander was involved in a similar situation. Alexander was charged with disturbing the peace and interfering with official process, both misdemeanors, after he and an older friend were involved in an altercation after being accosted by another man outside a Norman bar.

    Sooner head coach Bob Stoops, older brother of UA head coach Mike, said at a press conference that the issue would be dealt with internally, and Alexander was not suspended.

    If Holmes did as two West Virginia football players did – transferred and received stolen property, both felonies – he should be kicked of the team, as both Mountaineer players were. If Holmes was arrested on felony burglary charges, as Texas defensive end Andre Jones was, then he should be suspended indefinitely like Jones.

    However, Holmes appeared in court, admitted to his mistake and laid himself upon the mercy of the court. If the U.S. court system says an anger management class is sufficient, who are we to say they’re wrong?

    I’m sure that Holmes has put in lots of extra time on the practice field and in the weight room to try and get back on good terms with the coaching staff. Coupling that with the diversion program more than atones for his mistake.

    – Brian Kimball
    sports writer

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