Yet another Iowa Football thug has been arrested. Jermelle Lewis was arrested just after midnight, in front of a bar, for kicking and damaging a car and assaulting the driver, mere hours after winning the title “Hawkeye of the Week” for his standout performance in a game against rival Wisconsin.
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Lewis definitely deserves the honor of Hawkeye of the Week, he represents the finest traditions of Iowa Football: drunken postgame rampages, destruction of public property, assault with intent to commit injury, etc. Congratulation to Lewis, for showing us what Iowa Football is all about!
I found the news coverage of this incident by KGAN to be quite typical of local sports attitudes. KGAN is “Home of the Hawks” and since they televise all their games, they are a booster of the team. Their first concern is how this arrest might affect the Iowa Football team, rather than the threat the Iowa Football team represents to public safety. The sportscaster notes that this is Lewis’ first “brush with the law” (that we know of) so the penalty is likely to be light. Lewis was charged with 4th degree criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. If this had been anyone but an Iowa Football player, they would have been charged with Aggravated Assault.
The fix is already in. Iowa Football Coach Kirk Ferentz has announced he will hush up the incident personally, and mete out whatever private punishment he deems appropriate. Since Lewis’ performance helped shoot the team to #6 in the national rankings, and the team has already lost one 1st-string running back, Lewis will certainly continue to play with the team. The typical penalty is to suspend the player for a few months, as long as those months are during the off-season. Fortunately, the Courts are not so forgiving, even under pressure from the Iowa Sports juggernaut. Unlike the last case involving an Iowa athlete, where a rape victim was afraid to come forward, it is likely that the assault victim will have no hesitation to press charges.
As disgusted as I am with Lewis, I am even more disgusted with KGAN sportscaster Roland Glembine. He sees is role not as a journalist, but as a sports booster. He softpedals the story, assuring us that Lewis is a nice boy and deserves a break. I know Glembine is just a third-string reporter in the worst TV station in town, but the public really deserves better coverage of the continuing series of crimes by local athletes. The story should be handled by the main newsdesk, not by sportscasters whose existence depends on sucking up to the coaches.