In the wake of last week’s news that Jays prospect, and Golden Eagles QB, Anthony Alford had been arrested on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, there were a lot of serious shit heads around here (far from anything close to the majority, I’ll grant) moaning about “character” and what they saw as the Jays’ possible abandonment of it in the 2012 draft. They’d come to this rash conclusion because first-rounder Marcus Stroman was suspended at the end of the season after he most-likely-unintentionally took a supplement with a banned ingredient in it, and because Alford had been arrested in this incident– one that these pea brains knew absolutely nothing about.

Nor did anyone else, frankly. Nor do we know a whole lot more right now. And that’s kind of the whole thing: it’s usually a good idea to have a handle on the facts before jumping to conclusions.

Of course, that means I can’t entirely exonerate Alford, either, but at this point I can at least pass along word that things appear to be looking up a little bit, as the Hattiesburg American is now reporting that the charges against him, originally for aggravated assault, have been lowered to “conspiracy to possess a firearm on campus and hindering prosecution.”

Um… hooray?

The charges are both still felonies, according to local CBS affiliate WHLT, but they certainly sound a bit better. Hindering prosecution, I believe, would mean that Alford isn’t telling the police what he knows about additional participants in the incident– and, indeed, there have been two more arrests, and the police say that two additional suspects are wanted, according to the American’s report.

As for the other charge, several folks on the MyHattiesburg.com forums seem to be of the opinion that the “conspiracy to possess” charge indicates that Alford was attempting to purchase a gun at the time, though I get the sense that they may not be as well versed in the law as they want to believe– shocking, I know– as the original report by campus paper, The Student Printz, quoted Hattiesburg Police Chief Bob Hopkins as explaining that “as calls continued to come in, it developed into an issue where an individual apparently drew a weapon and made some threats. It [the altercation] seems to be a  simmering problem that’s been going on for a few weeks.”

A later report– though one prior to the lowering of Alford’s charges– from Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger, places a second firearm at the scene:

As police investigated, an officer watched [other arrestee Korey] Hathorn remove a handgun from a vehicle and stow it in his pants. Police detained Hathorn for questioning.

“One of our officers saw a possible suspect up around the old printing center,” [Hattiesburg Police Chief Bob] Hopkins said.

He said officers found another firearm under a car in a nearby parking lot.

Further investigation led to Alford’s aggravated assault charge, which can carry up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The lowered charges certainly must present Alford a better outlook than that, and it should help him that his attorney, Jim Dukes Sr., tells the American that his client has “never been in trouble.” But that’s not quite the picture others are painting.

Something called the Hattiesburg Patriot has posted Facebook comments from a  person purporting to be the brother-in-law of an ex-baseball teammate of Alford’s who claims that the two-sport star did serious damage to his face during a post-practice altercation when the two were in high school. It seems to me a pretty transparent attempt to indict Alford in the court of public opinion as someone whose involvement in the campus incident makes perfect sense, but as no charges were ever laid in the alleged high school incident, and there doesn’t appear to be any reporting of it at the time, it’s not exactly credible.

Comments on the story on the Patriot’s Facebook-page-slash-window-too-far-fucking-deep-into-Mississippi’s-warped-psyche make other allegations of this sort, coupled just as often with refutations, none of which are particularly compelling evidence of some kind of violent nature in this kid.

We simply don’t know what the hell happened here, apart from the fact that it was very obviously fucking stupid, and that guns were involved– in which case, it’s just fortunate that no one got hurt, or worse.

We’ll keep an eye on the story as it continues to develop.

 

Image via WHLT-TV.

Comments (52)

  1. I say they should kick him off the football team…anybody else around here think that’s enough punishment?

  2. After this all clears, the jays need to sit this guy down, tell him to fuck off and play baseball. Your not going to the NFL buddy, give it up.

  3. It was a… jump to conclusions mat! You see, there would be this mat that you would put on the floor, and it would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP to!

  4. Can someone explain how he can be drafted by an MLB team but is not with their farm system and playing football? Is this a normal thing?

    • It usually isn’t, but i believe the jays didn’t want to pass on the talent, so they agreed to these terms.

    • It’s not terribly common, but it’s not extremely rare, to give as vague an answer on that as possible.

      He only lost his amateur status as a baseball player, so he was able to play football in Division I while spending summers in pro ball. This year that meant playing five games in the Gulf Coast League before heading back to Hattiesburg to prepare for the disasterfuck of a Golden Eagles season.

      So, it wasn’t a great deal for the Jays or his development as a baseball player, but the only way to get his abundant talent into the system– and now with this, it seems possible (in a warped way) that it may have been a smart move. This incident may be of the scholarship-revoking variety, and he certainly has to be thinking twice about football after a winless season. The Jays have a better chance than ever, I’d figure, that he goes full-time baseball. Y’know, if he avoids jail.

    • He made a special deal with the Jays. It was reported here at the time.

    • It happens. And Alford played in the GCL over the summer for a bit.l

    • It happens. John Elway played a few years in the Yankees system while he was the QB at Stanford. Ultimately I think Elway chose the right sport (and as a Broncos fan I really thank him).

    • Also, with two sport athletes, the signing bonus can be deferred over a course of up to 5 years, as opposed to the standard 6 months.

  5. seems like a football player type of charge

  6. This is all just very unpleasant. Seems like something that would fit better with a Rays prospect for some reason.

  7. Nice. I’m glad that steely gaze is on our side

  8. Jays should sign this guy to be lawrie’s chaperone on shopping excursions to the eaton centre. Just in case shit goes down again.

  9. I realize I’m jumping the gun but if and when he does get convicted is there a way he can get into Canada with a felony?

    • I’m sure there is. They let NBA players in.

      • By which I of course mean that I am sure there are some NBA players with felonies and as far as I know they have no difficulty crossing the border, not that all NBA players have felonies.

        That’s the NFL.

  10. What kind of jail time is he looking at? Is this likely a probation thing or actually years in jail?

  11. Didnt Sidney Ponson have serious problems with the border? Along with Rafael Furcal? Dudes love getting DUI’s

  12. Hopefully the kid stops trying to be the next Bo Jackson and just sticks to baseball.

  13. +1 he’s bad a t football

  14. I love football too, but it’s a no brainier for a kid to play baseball if the chance of making the big leagues are roughly even.

    More money. Less getting your head beat in.

    Pretty simple really.

  15. jays pay lawyers fees in exchange for alford’s full time commitment? make it so.

  16. Dear Stoeten
    I don’t understand why you bitch about folks who complain about character (or lack thereof), while trying to uphold the character of those in question.
    You have no fucking clue about Stroman’s intentions, so why in the hell would you try to claim he’s the salt of the earth?
    Seriously, short of being a pedophile, teams will sign anyone who can hit a ball. Nothing else matters.

    • He’s more bitching about commentors jumping to conclusions without knowing exactly what occurred/who the player is personally. It’s less him advocating Stroman as some sort of saint and more him trying to tell people to chill the fuck out on the whole indictment of character before we know more. Kind of like what you’re telling him to do. So yeah.

  17. I wonder how many organizations are going to emulate the Jays drafting strategy after Stroman and Alford this year. I hope none do, thus helping management out in the next draft.

    These were still solid choices at the time, the process was sound (although the scouts on Alford should be queried about on his off the field make up- I’m not just meaning he works out a lot…to see what is going on because this team doesn’t need any more black eyes for awhile).

  18. You’ve definitely got a point that we often have to wait and get the facts about situations like this. I myself am probably more willing than most to listen to a self-defence explanation in a situation like this than most. Nonetheless, one interprets facts using accumulated knowledge. There’s an entitlement mentality among U.S. football players that is much more pronounced than it is with baseball players. It looks like this guy has it. My read of the accusation of him blind side attacking the high school baseball teammate is that it sounds pretty credible. A baseball team’s management isn’t a court of law (and of course, neither is this — this is the court of public opinion). Time for AA to trade this guy’s rights to some other team or, maybe better, just forget about him.

    Most prospects don’t pan out. That’s the way it’s always been.

  19. Who knows, Alford could be a million dollar athlete with a ten cent head. Jays should at least send in someone who can evaluate the situation and get him help with legal, emotional and media issues by related professionals if they are serious about getting something back on their “investment”.

  20. Unfortunate I hope he doesn’t waste his shot at a good life like too many other have

  21. So let me get this straight, when alford is convicted of a felony he won’t be able to get into canada right?

    • He won’t get tagged with a felony. More than likely, he will get a plea deal to a non-felony charge of simple assault, or some other shit like that.

  22. i will smuggle him into canada in my turbin!! youre welcome

  23. As I said before this guy should never have been drafted. Baseball is hard enough. If this guy isn’t 100% committed to baseball then fuck him. There are lots of players to be drafted. Snider was a flop. The fact is you have no idea who the winners will be so at least draft a player who thinks baseball is his dream job.

  24. Some of the more convincing comments on the pretty racist/gun-freak facebook page that you linked to in this article (the hattiesburg patriot one) seemed to be saying that Alford jumped in to stop a fight that his brother started. His brother and his friends were also the ones with the guns. Hence why the charges were lowered. And hence why he would obviously want to hinder the prosecution. This really does not that seem that serious at all, and it is unlikely that the jays would want to hold his family’s character against him in their evaluation of his baseball talent. It is also totally unrelated to the stroman case, which is just not a serious issue in any conversation whatsoever.

    • I never reply to my own comments, but I almost feel like it’s proper here??

      Anyways, also on that Hattiesburg Patriot page, it looks like the guy who was beaten up by Alford in high school (looks like a grade 9 fight) was beaten up for a reason. He called Alford the word you probably shouldn’t say from one non-dark fellow to another dark fellow. That’ll happen in high school, and yeah, it looks like that guy is just an opportunist.

      To be honest with you this guy just seems like a jacked up athlete. A brett lawrie with no dad from Mississippi.

  25. “Patriot’s Facebook-page-slash-window-too-far-fucking-deep-into-Mississippi’s-warped-psyche”

    Holy fuck you’re right about that. You’ve done some really fine work over the years here Stoeten, and you’ve been particularly comprehensive, timely, and insightful this off-season, but wading through those comments, that is some next level shit right there. That’s working right through reporting and toeing the line of goddamn ethnography.

  26. I’d like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

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