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Chris Rainey will be right where he belongs Saturday: on the field for the Gators

Chris Rainey I'm not a defender of Urban Meyer.

He does plenty of things I disagree with, I'm rarely comfortable believing anything he says, and in my first three seasons covering the Gators, his behavior around the media was usually standoffish and lame (he's been better this year).

With that said, I'm 100 percent on his side when it comes to his handling of Chris Rainey.

You know the story by now: "Time to Die," suspension, lawyer time, reduced charges, back to practice, fulfills vague behavioral requirements and now, Rainey will make his return this weekend against Georgia.

Yes, this is a crucial time and the Gators are in serious need of Rainey's services, but that's not the whole picture. Rainey made a mistake, accepted his punishment and should be allowed to play again. He fulfilled his duties to the legal system and then sat out a game. Are we really going to hold football teams to a standard higher than that? If your answer is yes, then you should also be disgusted with the academic standards at schools like Florida that admit students with subpar grades because they're big and fast. If that's you, the ideal time to switch your fandom is next weekend in Nashville. Buy a Vandy shirt.

But Rainey's case also raises a touchy subject: violence against women. The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote this week that Meyer should have kicked Rainey to the curb and taken a stand for women everywhere. Check it out. Sure, Meyer could have done that, but this wasn't the time to make such a statement. Meyer has had several cases of actual violence against women (Avery Atkins, suspended and transferred; Ronnie Wilson, kicked off team; Jacques Rickerson, kicked off team) and came down harder. Wilson and Rickerson also had prior suspensions for unrelated incidents.

Rainey's was not a serious case. Maybe that looks insensitive, but anyone who has met Rainey knew as soon as this story broke that it was another stupid, speak-before-you-think act without much of a real threat behind it. His similar statements in this category had been funny, when he professed his love for white girls and said "It's good to be Chris Rainey." This was far from a laugher, but not even the ex-girlfriend he sent it to took it literally.

The next morning, she stood up in court and said she didn't want charges pressed, adding that she never felt threatened and only called police to defuse the situation. Here's her full statement (along with her sister) from when the charges against Rainey were reduced to a misdemeanor:

“We would like to make a statement in regards to the incident on the night of September 14 between us and Chris Rainey. First and foremost, we want the public to know that any violence or potential violence against any person is unacceptable and needs to be seen as a very serious matter. We encourage anyone to follow our lead and call the police if involved in any situation where violence is possible. With that said, there are some key facts in this case that we would like the public to know. We have known Chris Rainey for three years and never during that time has he displayed any violent or threatening behavior towards us or anyone. To our knowledge, Chris does not drink alcohol or use drugs. His actions that night were out of character for reasons unknown to us, which is why we stood up in court on his behalf. The police we called that night to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We knew this was a particularly sensitive situation because of Chris’s position on the UF football team, which is why his last name was not given to the 911 operator. We felt this was a private, personal matter, and did not want it to become the media frenzy that it has become. The lack of sensitivity to our privacy has been disturbing, and we ask that our privacy be respected moving forward. We are in full support of the decision made by the State Attorney.”

Bianchi spoke to the director of a domestic violence shelter, who said she's skeptical of the statement because abused women often defend those who harm them. I certainly can't argue with someone who deals with these cases every day, but similarly, she's in no position to pass judgment on Rainey and the victim without knowing their case.

The people who did understand the situation (state's attorney, the victim, Meyer) are all in agreement that Rainey should be free to play football. Those who disagree are the ones on the outside looking in.

If what Rainey did is infinitely repulsive to you, don't cheer for him. But as far as whether he should have been allowed back on the team, I believe the case was handled correctly.

What would you have done with Rainey? Kick him straight off the team? Suspend him for more games? Bring him back for Miss St. after his legal duties were fulfilled? Please share your thoughts below, complete with all the usual back-and-forth that has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand.

 

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I'm a believer that Mryer truly cares about his athletes. The arrest trend of the last two years is disturbing. It reflects badly on the team and the program and Meyer. If I'm not wrong tho similar trends seemed to have followed at UM and FSU when they were on top. It makes u wonder how the Natl Champion rock star status seems to accelerate bad behavior by players rather than the opposite. All that said I think this episode was handled well and look forward to seeing Chris back in the lineup. Go Gators!

He needed to sit out the year
I dont care if Rainey or any other guy is the type of person that just says those things before thinking and isnt really that kind of person if you really know them
Thats a real weak and lame excuse
A threat against a woman needs to be taken serious and Urb. needed to sit Rainey for the year as soon as the text was known to be fact
Bad move

Rainey will play, but people shouldn't think he'll make that much of a difference. I might eat those words by Sunday but he wasn't all that hot the first few games. Rainey over the past few years has shown streaks of greatness, but the only thing he's been truly consistent at is being injured.

Do you know what program has the most arrests this year? Georgia. What about 2009? The USF Bulls. Yes you read that right. Bama, Illinois and Marshall had the most arrests the three years before that. UF is so frequently cited because (1) they have been on top for the past 5 years and (2) they've had high arrests the past 5 years.

The biggest mistake we fans, and particularly the media, make in all this arrest talk is trying to tie it to this school or that school, when in fact (as seen over on arrestnation.com) the epidemic of arrests is spread quite evenly amongst collegiate athletics, particularly football, although basketball also has an ugly trend. Collegiate athletic arrests dwarf that of professional sports. Maybe if the media and college fans spent a little more time focusing on its causes and a little less time using it as schadenfreude we might actually make some progress in solving it.

Greg - Very well said, sir!

Dont make excuses for UFelony Greg, your school made it self out to be pure by have baby jesus as its QB. Fact is UFelony is just a diploma mill for its athletes and Urban could care less what happens off the field as long as the player can help him win.
Your school has no respect from the media and just wait until the NCAA Sanctions are handed down because of the Pouncey brothers.
Sad Sad Sad school.

Attention Lizards and Dawgs....the game formely known as " the largest out-door cocktails party" as been officially changed to the. Wait for it.

THE FELON BOWL

this was done because of the fine arrest record that both schools have produce the last couple of years, in an hastily arranged press conference both coaches sounded very proud and up beat about future arrests, both said and I quote " we will continued to try to be NO 1 in arrests, we both want to be number 1

Urban SCUM Meyer....Your a Piece if you think "time to die" should play what a joke...

Well they have another trouble maker that recommited to the Gators for 2011, Jacksonville University Christian tight end
A.C. Leonard "has been suspended for the rest of his senior season due to an on-field altercation with a player during Jacksonville University Christian's 24-14 loss to Jacksonville Episcopal on Oct. 1"
I guess this is what Meyer wants!!!! (for the whole article go to: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20101020/ARTICLES/101029985 )

Well written.

I think it might be time for Urban to be sat down and told clean it up or else.
in field altercation is not a big deal. Emotion is usually the cause of that. it is the off field crap that he puts up with that I can't stand. This program is out of control and doesn't look to be getting any better. Maybe Charlie will come back if it is open.

Let’s take a step back and look at it from societal point of view. It’s easy as it seems to be for Meyer to justify his actions until someone threatens his own child. Do you really think if Florida had an unbeaten record until now, Rainey would have been given the chance? Where’s the accountability here ? Meyer historically had made calls of bringing troubled players to suit his needs ……………….if he had continued to kick players of his team during his tenure @ Florida, would he still have the chmapionships ?
Meyer did what he had to do before the team has a losing record and PLEASE dont for a second say that he had Rainey’s interest in his heart. If it was his child that was threatened then he would have made it his mission in life to make sure the charges would not be dropped and the hammer fell hard.

Remember when he told that reporter if that were my son we would be going at it right now? What if that was his daughter on the receiving end of the death threat?

Another Felon takes the field for UFelony, what a proud proud day in Gville. The program is broken and the coach will leave again soon.
Hey isn't he coaching this Saturday in the stadium he may soon call home?
Food for thought.

Cane fans are so jealous that we have a real coach. They wake up at night and pray that Meyer goes to Notre Dame or quits or goes pro.
They know they will never beat him.

Watching from afar, I am struck with the basic underlying assumption of the article that standards and character are not really important - or how else do you explain the direction to wear a Vandy T-Shirt? If the position of being a farm team (AAA?) for the NFL is acceptable, then, Rainey should play. If the position of being a publicly funded state university has meaning, then, continuing on scholarship and playing to represent the school is entirely different. Where you start the inquiry will determine which decision you will find acceptable.

It clearly looks like Meyers heart is out of this season. hes been on the sideline trying to pump his team up, but they dont respond like the team did back when Tebow and Spikes did it. maybe the team feelse the same about Meyer? Nah, this couldnt be true? the NFL doesnt want Meyer either, his offense would never work in the NFL except 50% of the time at te goaline if given 3 downs to score. If Meyer leaves us, its Mullen or maybe outside the state to grab Peterson. Peterson will find another disappointing outcome when the BCS champ game leaves his team out of it again. He'll take a higher profile job if the money's right. only problem is, he's probably not as good as Meyer is at recruiting the thug talent thats always considered blue chip athletic wise.

Correction Mikey: Prison is right where Rainey belongs, and he'll be there soon enough. He looks fetching in those orange & blue prison stripes and would be a 1st round pick for the sandlot flag football team when they pit the Orange against the Blue. Prison guards have gator jerky riding on the game, so hustle Chris on down there ASAP.

Most of you don't know what you're talking about, but that generally happens when you have no facts. UFelony30andcounting is your typical flamer to boot, his "baby Jesus" comment meant simply to attack Tebow's Christian beliefs. Your true colors are showing UFelony30 -- moron green of envy, is it?

Of the 30 arrests, about 10 were underage drinking/pot, etc. Heck, Notre Dame had 10 players arrested for that in just one weekend of drinking back in July.

5-star recruit Gary Brown was dismissed from the team for slapping a woman. Marquis Hannah, burglary - gone. Jacques Rickerson, domestic violence - gone. Torrey Davis (Defensive star of the national championship game), driving with a suspended license - gone. Ronnie Wilson, battery - suspended for a full year and then kicked off for a later second offense. Avery Atkins, domestic violence - gone. The point being the serious offenses usually mean being kicked off the team. And their star status, as Torrey Davis can attest, has nothing to do with whether they stay or go, rather it's their past history and how they react to getting in trouble.

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