Monday Tip: Sidney’s status
It was an ugly video clip that left many fans around the nation stunned and shaking their heads.
The sight of Mississippi State big man Renardo Sidney brawling with teammate Elgin Bailey in the stands at the Diamond Head Classic after a game Thursday night was disturbing on many levels, not the least of them being that Sidney – who has played for the Bulldogs in just two games over two seasons – had an altercation at a practice just a day earlier.
Both players have been suspended indefinitely and were sent home from Hawaii. Their status remains in question.
Sidney, who missed all of last season and the first nine games this year because of NCAA eligibility issues, was once one of the most coveted players in the country.
Now, for many, he has become a sad punchline.
Which leads to this week’s question: What should Mississippi State do with Sidney?
GERRY AHERN’S RESPONSE
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury has gone out of his way to take a chance on Renardo Sidney, actually multiple chances now given the 6-foot-10, 270-pound sophomore’s actions over the past few days. It is time to send this talented young man a message: Go home and grow up. Sidney’s issues with the NCAA over the acceptance of nearly $12,000 in improper benefits showed a serious lack of judgment. Reports that he did not appear to be in good condition when he finally became eligible on Dec. 18 did little to improve his image. With one game under his belt, he had an outburst in practice that resulted in a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Then came his second game, followed by his fight in the stands with Elgin Bailey right in front of TV cameras. This isn’t baseball, but three strikes and you are out. It doesn’t matter to me who started the brawl. After all Sidney has been through, he should have known better. The Bulldogs were considered an NCAA tournament contender in the preseason and now sit at 8-5 as 2010 nears a close. It is time to press on without this talented but troubled player and to try and salvage what’s left of the season. Sidney and Bailey won’t play when the Bulldogs travel to Las Vegas to face St. Mary’s on Wednesday. The soonest Sidney can come back would be for the Jan. 8 SEC opener at home against Alabama. Mississippi State is better off without him.
JASON KING’S RESPONSE
After watching Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey fight in the stands in last week’s Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, I was convinced that Sidney needed to be kicked off of Mississippi State’s team. I’m sure that was the opinion of most college basketball fans who witnessed the altercation. Now that a few days have passed, I’ve changed my stance. We don’t know anything about that fight. We don’t know what was done or said to provoke it. Granted, even if Elgin Bailey was the instigator, Sidney should’ve been the bigger man and walked away. The fact that he didn’t was a mistake on his part. But do you really alter a kid’s future and kick him off of a basketball team because of one lapse in judgment? All around the country, there are athletes who have been given second chances for committing offenses that are far worse than the one committed by Sidney. Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn was suspended for three games for an incident in which he fractured his girlfriend’s jaw. Seton Hall’s Keon Lawrence is still playing despite a 2009 car crash that occurred when Lawrence, who was intoxicated, drove his car the wrong way down a freeway. A few years ago, football and basketball players engaged in a series of brawls on the middle of Kansas’ campus. Not a single one of them was suspended. Oregon gave former football star LeGarrette Blount another chance after his highly publicized fight on national television. Mississippi State should do the same thing with Sidney. He may be spoiled and immature, but I don’t think Sidney is the bad person everyone is making him out to be. It seems as if the whole country is rooting for Sidney to fail. There’s a part of me – albeit a small part – that believes he may still succeed.