Violence brought to our community by who?!

by jhwygirl

That headline might seem harsh – and by now you have all heard of the arrest of three FIVE Griz football players for felony kidnapping, assault with a weapon, and robbery charges.

At least one local television station is reporting that the charges stem from an incident in the early morning hours last Monday at a home at the corner of Sixth and Arthur. In that incident, five or six suspects entered the home, zapped one resident with a taser gun and pistol whipped another.

With the 3 arrests, presumably the police are still looking for the others.

Yesterday I blogged about the random violent attacks that have been plaguing our community – some of if anti-gay.

Today I pondered these recent arrests and considered this: At least six EIGHT UM football players have been arrested this year alone. Some very serious charges – one was for murder, and a second was arrested as having witnessed the crime and remaining uncooperative in the investigation.

I ponder about what kind of people is Hauck recruiting? What kind of people does he have recruiting for him? At what price does he – and his supporters – want to win? Does he go to these guys homes? Does he meet their parent(s)? Their families? Does he even care?

Because some of what we are seeing here in our community – the violence that some of these team members have brought upon us – should be evident in school records, in family involvement (or not), in church and community organizations in the neighborhoods where these guys came from, and in the outward character of the young men (I use that term very loosely) themselves.

Is Bobby Hauck even capable of judging character?

It has been said that “It takes a village to raise a child.” That statement is true – while a parent and the family holds the greatest responsibility, the community also has a certain responsibility in seeing that its children are behaving under a certain code of mores and behaviors.

When I was young too many years ago, and me and my brothers and the neighborhood kids would get together, we knew that if we got out of hand – whether it was running our bikes through the neighbors yards, or piling on one of the younger ones in dodgeball – we knew that we risked the wrath of any number of neighbors who would call our parents and let them know that we were getting out of hand. And then the call would go from my parent to the other parents, and we’d all be in a steamin’ old pile of doggie do-do.

In Missoula’s case, it seems, we’ve got a group of children who aren’t behaving well – and some of these behaviors, I feel, aren’t the type of qualities we want for our community, for our University, for our team.

Hauck and the rest of the Griz team need to be called out for this and recent undesirable behaviors. These activities are not the folly of young men – as Dennison might want to have us believe – and before anyone in that athletic department begins to recruit players to bring them to this town to play for our Griz, changes need to be made.


They (the University, Hauck) can get on TV, they can apologize, they can talk about how embarassed they are – but keep in mind – the warning signs were there with the drug charges, with the DUI’s, with the murder, with the team member who didn’t think enough of his involvement with the Griz to cooperate in the investigation of that murder….none of this bodes well not only for the team, but for the University itself. It shows a very poor lack of judgment and inability to assess character.

Now it’s time for the community to put in a call to the University and tell them to clean house. We can’t have this in our neighborhoods. It is not acceptable.

  1. MSU’s Mike Kramer was fired over the lack of control over his players. Think Hauck will get the boot, too? Me, neither. Kramer’s real crime, of course, was that he couldn’t win the Big Sky conference. I predict Hauck will keep his job.

  2. TMM

    This crap keeps getting worse, it seems. I don’t think we can absolve the fan in this spiral either. Unfortunately though, it probably will get worse, and I can’t imagine anything changing anytime soon.

  3. Is Bobby Hauck even capable of judging character?

    Doesn’t this beg the question: does Bobby Hauck even care about judging character over abilities?

  4. Now I’ve really got myself fired up.

    Ponder this: That University over there pays no taxes. They are subsidized by our – yours and mine – tax dollars.

    Eight arrests. One more (at least) – hopefully – to come. Wonder how much that cost? Police time, investigation, etc.

    Jail costs? Court costs? Prosecution costs?

    Who’s paying all of that? More of yours and my tax dollars! LOCAL tax dollars.

    Defense of these criminals – who’s paying that? A public defender? – yours and my tax dollars. Local tax dollars. The University is paying for their defense? – yours and my tax dollars. The Alumni association or Griz supporters? – Is that where they want their money going?

    Any way you look at this, this is ugly.

    We all – across the state – need to be outraged.

    Hauck obviously doesn’t give a damned. He’s on TV tonight, blaming it all on the players.

  5. goof houlihan

    “Kramer’s real crime, of course, was that he couldn’t win the Big Sky conference.”

    You’re not even close with what went on, Jay, or what the issues are or were. I’d guess your complete whiff on this issue is some measure of your political perspicacity as well.

    Kramer beat the Grizzlies and got MSU into the playoffs, including a playoff game in Bozeman. He was very popular with the town, the fans and the parents of the players. I don’t doubt his sudden firing was an ass covering of the highest sort, but it wasn’t about what was happening on the field.

    BTW, jhwygirl, the Bozeman violence you cited in a previous post was connected to the murderous drug ring that was part of Coach Kramer’s downfall.

    The transfers from Division I to Division I-AA that allowed Kramer to succeed and that are part of this UM problem lead to success on the field, but it’s a dangerous game.

    The larger problem is bringing these guys up to Bozeman, or Missoula without evaluating their ability to fit in with the communities or succeed in this Montana environment. They are usually transferring from these DIV I schools for good reasons, academic or behavioral. So how is it we can expect them to succeed in a small Montana city that has little in common with their previous life experience?

    I’d invite you all to re-read the SI article and see just what a tightrope we walk on this subject.

    Bozeman does claim, “all are welcome here” (not sure about you, Jay), but we didn’t include the skinheads, and it doesn’t include murderers and drug dealers. We’ve still got the death penalty for the one, and life sentences for the other.

    This kind of publicity will hurt the program, but it hurts the community as well. I do think the Universities have a lot of work to do, real work, on a set of policies that establish criteria for recruits, and then, once they attend, involve them in and connect them to campus and community. That work must involve representatives from the community.

    Having said all that serious crap, I sure hope those three guys are starters. ;-)

    Next year the game will be held midway between the two campuses, you know, in Deer Lodge.

  6. You’re not even close with what went on, Jay, or what the issues are or were. I’d guess your complete whiff on this issue is some measure of your political perspicacity as well.

    Thanks for the gratuitious swipe, goof. I admit I don’t know much about MSU or MSU football. It’s interesting you conflate that with all political thought.

    Let’s keep this civil, shall we?

  7. I’ve long thought taxpayers should not be subsidizing Grizzly athletics, or any collegiate athletic program for that matter. It’s primarily because of the ability to collect revenue from other sources (tickets, endorsements, Griz wear, ticky-tacky Made in China Griz tchotchke). Or maybe it’s just leftover anger on my part from my years at UM (1990-1994, B.A. in History with High Honors and that department’s Outstanding Senior of the Year; I put that on my resume for years). Back in ’92, I think, students were allowed to vote on whether or not they could have a choice during the registration process: their athletic fees going to either the Grizzly program as usual or instead to the Mansfield Library. The students overwhelmingly voted to have that choice–books or jocks–and Dennison overruled our vote. No choice, no books, only jocks, thankyouverymuch.

    I have to disagree with your assertion that this hurts Missoula as a whole, Goof. I think it reflects on the athletic program alone. Yeah, many over here are rabid Grizzly fans, but I don’t think that automatically translates into the community giving George Dennison and Bobby Hauck some sort of blank check to recruit thugs.

  8. JC

    “The larger problem is bringing these guys up to Bozeman, or Missoula without evaluating their ability to fit in with the communities or succeed in this Montana environment.”

    Unfortunately, the sorts of problems that these ex-Griz players are involved in existed in Montana before they transfered here. One might say from some viewpoints that these criminals fit in just fine. There are plenty of role models for them who are sitting in Montana jails right now, and out in the communities still practicing their illegal lifestyles. Defining “community” and predicting “success” is just a red herring.

    We might like to believe that our Montana communities are purer than they really are. But for as long as I’ve lived in Montana–reaching back almost 6 decades, I’ve seen, and have been affected by crimes like theirs–and much worse.

    Without making explicit references to race, the media has to tread very lightly as it amplifies the crimes beyond the level at which they would treat homegrown Montanans. The crimes associated with these ex-Griz are not foreign to our own children. The problems of drug abuse and the criminal behavior it breeds can invade even the purest of Montana families. Maybe that’s why the sensationalist nature of this story touches home. It takes the cover off of problems that we’d rather sweep under the rug and place blame on “outsiders,” or a broken Grizzly recruiting process. This conveniently allows us pass over the same behavior exhibited by Montanans, as being less of a problem.

    Is it worse when a drug-seeking Griz player tapes up and pistol whips a drug dealer than when anybody else does? No, I didn’t think so. We elevate the crime to a sensational level because the perpetrators are high profile. How easy it then becomes to vent our frustration over the inability of our families and communities to prevent such occurrences. And then sit idly by while the same behavior is conducted over and over again by homegrown Montanans.

    Holding Hauck and the Griz athletics program accountable for their actions is paramount. And I suspect Hauck will eventually be subjected to the same treatment as Kramer–including rightly losing his job if he ignored the criminal history of recruits like Coleman. But we must not allow this situation to overshadow similar problems in our own state, and lose perspective when the media chooses to amplify the importance of these crimes in relation to those committed by Montana residents.

    This is the true tragedy of this event. Not taxes–or righteous indignation over unrelated socio-cultural policies that will surround this issue for months to come.

  9. Well said, JC. Soon after the first incident earlier this year, a Letter to the Editor appeared in the Missoulian. It basically said that the formerly-pure Griz should not recruit players who reside below a certain latitude in the U.S. I remember being absolutely disgusted at the time, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if stuff like this leads to race-baiting. It’s so much easier to believe an “other” does stuff like this, rather than a nice white Montana boy.

  10. Dan

    There are some good comments here and I agree with the idea that Hauk, O’Day and others should be held accountable. Goof is right, the SI article is a must-read. Having said that, I would like to point out that several people have missed the primary reason Kramer got sacked. In addition to the off-field problems, the Bobcats were not making the grade, literally. The NCAA sanctioned the MSU athletic department with the loss of scholarships because of the poor classroom performance of the student-athletes. I caught Sally Mauk on KUFM tonight and what caught my ear in her story was that the media completely missed this part of the story because they were sidelined by the more attractive part of the story – the violence, drugs and crime.

  11. goof houlihan

    I agree, Dan, that grades were a part of Kramer’s warning.

    The guy who was murdered in Bozeman was a drug dealer selling coke to the teenagers on the baseball team he coached. So I appreciate the idea that we do have people who sell drugs and commit robberies and assaults already in our communities. We don’t have to offer them scholarships at our state supported universities however. We don’t have to actively bring more here, either. We simply do not have to offer scholarships to these transfers from Div I who were trouble there. Do some deserve a second chance? Yep, but there needs to be well considered and stated reasons why, that go beyond, “he can help us immediately” on the field.

    Who we choose to give scholarships to needs to have as criteria an ability to succeed here. That is, academically, athletically, and socially. And the programs have to include criteria for evaluating that before offering a scholarship and then creating programs to help that along.

    That’s precisely the direction MSU is heading. I’ve talked with the MSU president about it.

  12. Dan

    You’re right about the decision making process for who we decide to give scholarships to. And you’re spot on about the second chance, there are plenty of examples of Montana kids who made mistakes and were given a second chance and made the most of it. It makes me wonder what the folks out on the Hi Line think about supporting higher education in MT when this news from both UM and MSU dominates the headlines. MSU made an excellent choice when they hired Ash, he is an outstanding individual. I have family that are Drake alumni and they tell me he ran a spotless program by focusing on the recruits and their character, which is difficult at a private school with high academic standards like Drake.

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    […] – the best trained forces in the state? – Missoula both deserves and needs that (especially with Bobby Hauck, run amok) – but it does illustrate some of the very issues I’ve been speaking about. (For more of my […]

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    […] This isn’t new, and the Kaimin listed the last two years of known criminal activity by the Griz players. […]

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