This past Sunday morning, Jett Duffey, Christian Taylor, Desmon Smith and Quan Shorts were booked in Lubbock County Jail on charges of Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct. All four of them were released not too long after.
Since this arrest, many people, including myself, voiced their displeasure at the nature of the football team.
How dare they disrespect our University and coaches’ trust!!! Hope they are innocent- if not gone— Dressingontheside (@Dressingonthes1) March 25, 2018
These guys regardless of what they did or didn’t do, obviously don’t care about football or the program at all.— VivaTheDumpsterfire™️ (@vivathedumpster) March 25, 2018
Duffy might be done. What a waste. What an idiot.— Adam Boedeker (@aboedeker) March 25, 2018
The Jett Duffey era never started. And it never will. Pretty sure I said the same thing last year after university suspended him. He needs to get the right help and it is not here. Sad day. pic.twitter.com/btNOKvctXj— Travis Cram (@traviscram) March 25, 2018
I myself was very disappointed in this arrest. My exact words in our VTM Slack chat in regards to Duffey was, “You’re the QB, dude, you gotta be above all that.” Yesterday afternoon, KCBD released the 18-minute long body cam video of what happened that Sunday morning a little after 2 a.m., and though the charges are unfortunate and what happened is unfortunate, my critical feeling of Duffey and the rest of the athletes involved have diminished.
The definition of empathy is, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It is one of the biggest challenges humans have is the feeling of being empathetic to one another. “Walk in another man’s shoes” is another way of putting it. So let’s break down the video a bit.
- Christian Taylor punches a car window causing the glass to shatter leading to his arrest. While being handcuffed, Taylor gets tased and is laid face down into the pavement.
- Many Texas Tech athletes are in this video including Tony Jones, Dakota Allen, etc.
- Jett Duffey stands calmly behind a teammate who is asking about Taylor’s charges. While walking away, Duffey lets off frustration and punches a wall leading to his arrest.
- Desmon Smith gets bit by the police dog and is arrested
- Multiple other people are also arrested during this altercation
It is tough to see just where Quan Shorts was arrested but it was likely around the same time as Smith as they both received Disorderly Conduct charges. All in all, 10 people were arrested, virtually all stemming from the original Christian Taylor arrest.
There’s no excuse for Taylor’s arrest, with police on the scene reporting to a separate situation, he decided to punch someone’s window and shatter it. That is irresponsible, everything after that is where it gets sticky. It’s easy to judge from the outside looking in, but let’s be empathetic for a second.
While being arrested, Taylor was tased and laid down. Seeing your teammate, friend, brother look lifeless on the ground can and should evoke an emotion in you. Every single person there wanted to know what was going to happen to Taylor, many people wanted to know that he’s still coherent, many wanted to know his charges.
We then get to Duffey, who is standing behind his teammate calmly trying to figure out what’s going on. After listening to the police officer, Duffey walks away from the scene and lets off frustration. It’s important to note that he walked away. Duffey in this case seemed to be wanted to take himself out of the situation and the police officer chased after him to arrest him.
Smith seemed to be very vocal about wanting to know what was happening to his friend, and this also seemed to cost him. To the point of getting bit by the police dog and having to go to the hospital. However, if you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re worried for your friend, then you know at that point your friend priority No. 1.
I say all that to say this. This isn’t a situation of “bad judgement” or “thuggish behavior,” this is a situation of teammates sticking up for each other. As someone who was at Tech during the late Leach and the Tuberville days, I can assure you this is drop in the bucket compared to what those players were doing at times.
For pundits who may exclaim that “Kingsbury has lost control of the team,” if that’s the case, then its not apparent from these arrests. These players seemed to legitimately be close and that’s a sign of a positive culture, and to the pundits who say “what are players doing out that late?” I’d like to remind everyone they’re all 18-22 years old. Many of us have done much worse than these players just did, the difference is that they had to spend a night in jail and the whole world knows about their problem as opposed to ours.
Reports have come in that Kingsbury has suspended the players indefinitely and is handling punishment internally. Tuesday morning at practice, Duffey and Shorts were seen running sprints and carrying barbells over their heads.
Nothing wrong with this punishment, but I hope Kingsbury doesn’t let this affect Duffey, Shorts, or Smith’s status on the team or their competition. This is where coaching plays a big part and where you must recognize you, as a coach, are not only their on the field leader, but also their mentor off the field. Sticking up for a teammate isn’t something that should be heavily punished.