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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Hobbs Column: Crying woof once too often

Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:45 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

A golf buddy recently had a dandy suggestion to replace college football’s boring end of the year awards, those endless podium parades that tend to litter up December.

You know — the Biletnikoff for best receiver, the Rimington Trophy for best center, the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman, etc.

Who really cares?

In its place, in this day and age — live, from San Quentin! —  would be the top players in different categories running the gamut from the various rap sheets.

For instance, there would be categories like best player charged with petty theft, best player charged with assault, with arson, with kidnapping, with possession, all the way up and down to counterfeiting, hijacking, espionage and maybe even second-degree bigamy.

Merely being “charged” or even just arrested will be sufficient for nomination; the winner need not be convicted to be eligible, even if it can later be written off to the ever-popular “mistake in judgment — and I’ll learn from this.”

We will, however, be looking for the truly creative here — not just a player who can steal and re-sell tickets, but maybe one who could turn it into a full-blown Ponzi scheme.

The possibilities are limitless.

But, we have the early leader in the clubhouse for the coveted Wayward Heisman.

Frankly, I’ve got to plead ignorance on this one.

But any time you can invent a crime, you automatically move to the top of the list.

The authorities never were sure what Florida starting linebacker Antonio Morrison would be charged with. This is a case that was puzzling legal experts and confounding the judicial system.

But if you’re looking to break new ground, 2:30 a.m. in a lounge parking lot is probably as good of a time and place as any for creative mischief (the bewitching hour can vary from locale to locale, but as a good rule of thumb, it’s generally about a half-hour after closing time when trouble has a way of finding you).

Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson managed to get arrested in mid-afternoon at a friend’s apartment, but it’s rare and takes a special knack for attracting trouble.

Anyway, Morrison was accused of “barking at a police dog.”

That’s right. Barking. At a police dog. A K-9.

Who knew? Apparently it’s only a misdemeanor, if that, but ... Book him, Dano.

One can only imagine the tense scene when Morrison was tossed into the pokey (later released on his own recognizance.)

“Watcha in for, kid?

“Barking at a dog.”

Silence, followed by giggling

“But it was a big, big dog.”

There’s an old newspaper adage: Dog bites man, no big story; man bites dog, front page news. Same applies to barking, apparently. And when it’s a Florida Gator doing the barking, it goes viral.

The Gainesville, Fla., parking lot in question is, by all accounts, a popular spot for police attention, particularly at the bewitching hour.

But whatever the police units, including the K-9 division, were doing there at the time, it had nothing to do with Morrison.

He was strolling by when he noticed the police dog in the back of the squad car and, well, just couldn’t resist barking at him.

Next thing you know, he’s spread-eagle across the hood (Morrison, not the dog).

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell has since told the Gainesville Sun that perhaps a warning would have served justice better than handcuffs, citing “obscurity of the law and Morrison’s likely ignorance of it.”

But there’s something to be said for “nipping it in the bud.” You let barking go, next thing you know the jocks will be hiking their up legs on police cars’ tires.

And on Tuesday prosecutors, even at the risk of being perceived as “soft” on jock dog-barking, dropped all charges, whatever they were, against Morrison.

That’s a shame, really.

You’re just setting yourself up for an epidemic of Driving While Head Is Out the Window incidents.

And this thing figured to weave a tangled web through the courtrooms,

Morrison’s only defense, also reported by the Gainesville Sun, was that “the dog barked first.”

So he was taunted into his barking crime.

Florida coach Will Muschamp may or may not be an overly sensitive dog-lover, but his justice was swift — Morrison is suspended for the Gators’ first two games.

Of course, Muschamp’s tough love is likely because Morrison was also arrested a few weeks ago for the more mainstream (and mundane) crime of punching a bouncer.

But, maybe Muschamp will reconsider now that prosecutors have decided they were barking up the wrong tree with any and all charges.

Still, we’re left with the sad video images of Morrison being arrested.

“Officer, please let me go,” he says, clearly showing his bark to be worse than his bite. “I’m not looking for any trouble. I just said ‘woof, woof.’ ”

But, good could still come from this. Let this be a teachable moment, a life’s lesson for all you kiddos (and many adults) out there.

Sometimes you can cry woof once too often.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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