Since he suspended quarterback Cyler Miles and wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow following a Feb. 2 post-Super Bowl incident in the U District that resulted in injuries to two Seahawks revelers, new University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen has steadfastly refused to say how he intends to deal with the pair.
“We’re always going to do the right thing by our program,” Petersen said following a Husky spring practice this week. “I’ve said that from the start. We’re handling it internally and we’ll do the right thing, always – by our team, by the university and what’s right by our players.”
An apparent legal resolution occurred Wednesday when Stringfellow pleaded guilty to two counts of fourth-degree assault and one count of third-degree malicious mischief, all misdemeanors. A four-star recruit by former coach Steve Sarkisian, Stringfellow received only a token punishment – five days on a work crew, anger-management counseling and a $693 fine.
Miles, who had been expected to replace departing starter Keith Price, avoided prosecution after authorities determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him. Still, Miles remains suspended.
Stringfellow reportedly knocked a woman unconscious and damaged her camera after she photographed him fighting with an unidentified man during a Super Bowl party on Greek Row. In a separate incident, Stringfellow and Miles approached another man, and Stringfellow allegedly punched him in the head after he admitted being a Seahawks fan.
Stringfellow’s attorney explained that Stringfellow was sticking up for Miles, a Colorado native and Denver Broncos fan.
“We’ll probably let everybody know in the fall what’s going on with those guys when we start back up,” Petersen told 710 ESPN Seattle radio. “In terms of where we go forward, we’ll have that all figured out by the time we start in August and we’ll have answers for everybody.”
Petersen has several options. He could simply credit both players for time served and reinstate them without further penalties, reasoning that they have been punished to the significant extent that they missed all of spring practice and important exposure to Petersen’s new staff and system.
Petersen could suspend both for a year, or only suspend Stringfellow since he pleaded guilty. He could suspend Miles but not Stringfellow, since Stringfellow is already being punished while Miles still needs a whack for egregious knuckleheadedness. Or, Petersen could throw one or both off the team.
Miles escaped a legal slap, but might warrant an academic suspension for being so stupid as to wear a Broncos beanie to a Seahawks celebration. What did he think would happen?
What happened was exactly what Miles and Stringfellow hoped would happen – a physical confrontation. When Miles donned his orange headgear and went on the prowl for Seahawks celebrants, he was, abetted by Stringfellow, clearly looking for trouble. This is beyond poor judgment or simple brain lock. Miles sought to spark a potentially dangerous situation, and succeeded.
Does Petersen want that guy as his starting quarterback? Does he want Miles and Stringfellow representing the Washington Huskies? He has a tough call to make. What’s yours?