This feels a little like an old news story at the this point given that it was reported a week to the day before I wrote this piece. However, the tale of Jeremiah Jones and Micah Mason’s midnight run from Pittsburgh Police is still playing out as we have no hard response from Duquesne. I think people’s response to the incident seems to be shifting and I know my attitude has also changed as we’ve gotten further away from the initial report. At first, I had concerns that the players might be kicked off the team, but that doesn’t appear likely. I thought a four game suspension for Jones and two for Mason seemed fair this time last week for both players. I can’t imagine that much for either at this point. Why you might ask? No one seems to care.
Operating on the back burners of the local sports scene has its advantages. Players behaving badly on teams in the spotlight often have their exploits broadcast on twenty – four hour loop. If you google “Jabaal Sheard Pitt,” this is still the sixth entry you’ll get. Of course, Sheard’s dirty deed exists on a different plain than the Duquesne players, but the Panther turned Cleveland Brown picked up national press and set off a three day maelstrom of local talk about the assault in part because he played for a higher profile team in a higher profile sport. Also take into consideration Dorian Bell. His connection to NCAA rules violations took down a coach and a star quarterback while setting the media and fans into a frenzy. College players getting compensation happens often enough, but does it make this big of headlines when it happens somewhere besides The Ohio State University. Not really. Jones and Masons story also broke when Pittsburgh sports fans were busy being outraged about more important things like Jim Rutherford’s age and the oppression of Gregory Polanco. A rarity this time of year, but there was a lot to talk sports wise in Pittsburgh and no one benefited more than the Duquesne juniors. While I would have never expected the story to grow into anything beyond a day or two blip on the local scene, it didn’t even become that. Lack of outrage equals lack of pressure to respond.
On top of that, I came to realize how minor the charges levied against the players were. The worst was Mason’s misdemeanor I for altering his ID. I’d be shocked if that charge isn’t reduced. Outside of running from the police, Jeremiah Jones weekend probably wasn’t that different from one many other Duquesne students have had. A night of drinking turns into a verbal altercation turns into a mild physical altercation or other such dumb behavior while under the influence. When I consider that kicking either player off the team would equate to kicking them out of the school as both would pursue scholarship money elsewhere, the penalty looks supremely unfair. Not many regular students would lose an academic scholarship for that same night on the South Side. They’d end up with some community service and if Duquesne even responded, a couple of trips to see DU Cares. When I consider that Sheard missed one game for something far more violent, I can’t help but think even four games for Jeremiah Jones is too severe.
So after giving the story a week to marinate, what will happen to these two? Possibly nothing. Duquesne and Jim Ferry are under no pressure from the media or fans to respond to this incident with any retribution at all. If Jones and Mason are in the Dukes opening day starting lineup, an insignificant amount of people would even notice and even less would be offended. More likely, I suspect both will be suspended for the public preseason exhibition against some D – II school. If there are two open scrimmages, they might be suspended for both. At this point, I would actually be surprised if Mason isn’t playing by game one of the regular season and Jones doesn’t appear by game two. In the end, the greatest message sent to these two will be in the courts as they’re likely to pick up charges that will impact them for sometime. In my opinion, that’s a severe enough punishment for what ultimately seems like a minor event. Anything from Duquesne would just be piling on.