Alabama allowing Brandon Miller to continue to play is now the story of the college basketball season

The second-place Alabama basketball team hosts Arkansas at 2:00 pm ET Saturday. Brandon Miller and Jayden Bradley are expected to start, as they did on Wednesday when they defeated the Crimson Tide in South Carolina.

This will come despite pre-trial testimony this week showing both were at the scene of a Jan. 15 shootout in the Tuscaloosa student bar district that killed 23-year-old mother Jamie Harris and charged the former Alabama player with murder charges. punishable by death. Darius Miles and his friend Michael Davis.

As terrible as the tragedy was, and as horrific as the loss of one life was, everyone was lucky that no additional innocent people were shot that night, most notably Alabama students in the city.

At least 11 bullets were fired on a busy street corner in front of popular bars, clubs and restaurants, most by Davis, who police later said told them he was so drunk on tequila at the time that he didn’t remember anything. what could have happened. It happened.

Miller, according to Detective Tuscaloosa’s pre-trial testimony, arrived at the scene with a firearm belonging to Miles in the back seat of a car. Miller arrived shortly after receiving a text message from Miles saying, “I need my collaboration.” [gun]” and using slang to describe that some level of controversy was underway.

According to Miller’s lawyer, Miller had previously dropped Miles and Davis off at a sports bar across the street, who said that Miles had left his gun in the back seat of Miller’s car. Miles and Davis later clashed with Harris’ group after Harris, who was with her boyfriend and cousin who attends U of A, reportedly rejected Davis’s advances.

Upon Miller’s arrival, Miles retrieved the gun from Miller’s backseat and handed it to Davis, who, according to police, soon began shooting at Harris’ jeep. She was hit and killed. Her boyfriend returned fire with his own weapon before driving away. Davis was wounded once. Two shots shattered Miller’s windshield.

Alabama State head coach Nate Oates (left) chats with Brandon Miller (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 in Columbia, Alabama, won 78–76.  (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Alabama head coach Nate Oates (left) speaks to Brandon Miller during the first half of Alabama’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, a day after Miller was revealed to have brought a gun to the incident that led to the fatal shooting. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

Local prosecutors throughout said neither Miller nor Bradley were suspects and would not be charged with the crime.

Although Miller did bring the weapon to the scene of the soon-to-be-seen murder after being asked to bring the weapon, Alabama law clearly states that Miller can only be convicted if he knew that Miles and/or Davis intended to commit a crime. crime.

“[Brandon] was not aware of any intent to use any weapon,” Miller’s attorney, Jim Standridge, said in a statement.

Trying to prove otherwise, let alone beyond reasonable doubt, would be difficult, if not impossible. So prosecutors don’t try to do that. These are difficult decisions that their work requires every day.

Miller’s actions may not have been up to criminal standards, but they were reckless, careless, and downright idiotic. At the request of a man whom he could reasonably suspect of drunkenness, he brought a pistol to the place of the quarrel.

Perhaps more than anything else, this is why Alabama’s decision to continue to support Miller, let alone play, became the history of the college basketball season.

There is no length of suspension that could bring Harris back. However, her stepfather, Calvin Hurd, criticized Miller for his lack of discipline or accountability.

“He brought the gun to where the man was killed and didn’t do anything wrong?” Hurd told columnist Joseph Goodman.. “Jamea may still be alive. … Brandon Miller is knee-deep in this situation, however much they want to spin it.”

However, Miller, Alabama’s leading scorer and potential lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, has been approved by the authorities, and that seems to be enough for Alabama. This sets the lowest and weakest standard for team discipline in the history of college athletics; it is a choice made by the Crimson Tide.

“Brandon didn’t have any problems, and in this case, he doesn’t have any problems,” Alabama coach Nate Oates said earlier this week. On Friday, he added: “I feel like we did the right thing.”

This decision reached the school president, and it remains in effect, despite the fact that many details of that night are still unknown, including, it seems, the University of Alabama itself.

The sports department’s policy is to stay out of criminal investigations, offering full cooperation with the authorities, which everyone seems to have done. The concept makes sense, to a certain extent. This is a murder case, and no one wants to have, say, a basketball coach intervening, let alone suggesting that he is interfering, influencing, or hindering an investigation.

However, this puts the program and the school on notice.

For example, while Oates and Athletic Director Greg Byrne knew that Miller and Bradley were at the scene of the shootout, neither knew until Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing that Miles had texted Miller about the need for his gun or that he was in Miller’s car. to the stage.

Partly because there was no school investigation. It’s also partly because neither Miller nor his attorney apparently once let Oates or anyone else know about it, even out of courtesy so as not to be overwhelmed.

Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne speaks with Alabama head coach Nate Oates after the second half of the NCAA college basketball game between Alabama and LSU, Saturday, January 14, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (AP Photo/Your Hunt)
Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne talks with Alabama head coach Nate Oates. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

The obvious question is: what else have they not said? Is there another bomb coming? Alabama appears willing to risk that opportunity.

Stanbridge, Miller’s attorney, released a two-page statement outlining Miller’s version of events. The most notable part is the strong rebuttal of the police claim that Miller blocked the jeep with his car. Stanbridge said the video evidence would prove it.

Basically, however, it was not about what was V statement, but for what was No.

A good defense attorney – and Stanbridge seems to be a very good one – is going to present his client with the best facts and narrative. Thus, when, for example, the statement never says that Miller did not know that Miles’ gun was in the car, it is reasonable to assume that this is because Miller knew that the gun was in the car. Or, if it doesn’t say that Miller didn’t read Miles’ text about bringing the weapon before he brought the weapon, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s because Miller actually read that text before he delivered the weapon.

As for Alabama, there must be many more questions.

Where was Miller before and more importantly after the shooting? What is he doing? Did he drive a gun into a campus where possession would be against school rules?

Who else did Miles write to that night? Were there other players on the way? Anyone else had a weapon? How exactly did Bradley end up at the crime scene? Almost nothing has been publicly reported about his activities, and they also appear to be unknown to the school.

Was he called or did he show up by accident? Where was he before? Where did he go after?

The task of law enforcement agencies was to solve the murder. Detectives tend to focus on this single task and only this task. They do not exist to collect information about fraudulent behavior that does not violate the law. Opening the case was easy. Miles and Davis were arrested almost immediately, and the scope and depth of the investigation was likely limited.

You would think that Alabama would like to know the full set of events in which at least part of its men’s basketball team was responsible for a shootout that killed a young mother and any number of her own students were lucky enough to avoid being shot within a few steps. from campus.

Maybe there is nothing more important to know. Or maybe there is. Now no one knows for sure. Alabama can only hope that the Crimson Tide rides boldly, if not blindly, into the March madness like no other.


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