Three Tennessee Players Arrested, Charged With Attempted Armed Robbery
According to police at 1:43AM Thursday, three freshmen on Tennessee's football team, safety Janzen Jackson, wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, and defensive back Mike Edwards, were arrested and charged with attempted arm robbery. The trio allegedly attempted to rob three men parked in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at a Pilot gas station on Knoxville's Cumberland Avenue.
One of the football players reportedly brandished an air pistol while wearing a black hoodie and demanded money. Another football player wearing a black hoodie opened the other door. The three men said they had no money, at which point the football players fled in a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by a woman, 22-year-old Marie Montmarquet.
Police later pulled over the Prius near the Gibbs Hall dormitory, uncovered two black hoodies, an air pistol, and led the men back to the Pilot gas station where they were identified by their would-be victims. Immediately the Internets exploded. Here was a story that offered the improbable combination of crime vehicle -- 2010 Toyota Prius, location -- the Vols' attempted robbery was in the parking lot of the gas station, Pilot, that is owned by UT's most prominent booster, an air pistol and two of the most famous recruits from the 2009 football season.
Let's dive in.
I've decided to itemize some observations, a Starting 11 for the arrest, from me, Twitter and others via e-mail about this incident. Why? Because in the modern era, when no one is injured by the stupidity of others, public shaming is the weapon of choice. It's amazing how rapidly the reactions poured in from the moment I woke up this morning and turned on the iPhone.
First came the reports of the arrest and well, then came the jokes.
1. Janzen Jackson is starting at safety for the Vols as a true freshman. He's been dominant. A few weeks ago I wrote that he might kill someone on the field before his career is done. If we remove three words from the previous sentence, that still might be true.
How much money did Jackson cost himself? He's going to be a first-round draft pick if he just keeps from getting arrested for a felony for the next two years. Leading to this imagined conversation.
Kiffin: "Janzen, in two years you'll get $18 million guaranteed."
Janzen: "But I really needed $18 now, Coach."
2. How to attempt a robbery and get caught. This should be a seminar taught by Pahokee grads at Tennessee:
a. Wear UT football gear
b. Commit robbery just off campus for which you are wearing gear
c. Rob the most highly trafficked gas station parking lot in Knoxville
d. In one of the only 2010 Toyota Priuses on campus
e. Select as victim, someone driving a 1998 Elantra
f. Use an air-pellet gun
g. Stay in car after failed robbery
h. Keep all objects used in robbery in car
I. Plead not guilty and have your lawyer condemn judgment, "Before all the facts are out."
3. Best email of the morning, from a South Carolina fan, "We pump the gas and then you rob us?!"
4. I've been calling Nu'Keese Richardson, who Kiffin memorably stole from Urban Meyer and Florida, Helen of Troy. As in, he's the apostrophe that loosed a thousand ships. But now that analogy is strained.
This is like Helen of Troy going up to Hector and stealing his loincloth just as he prepared to fight Achilles.
I know, someone else read The Iliad, right?
Moving right along.
5. Tweet via my buddy Spencer Hall over at EDSBS.com, "Got my team gear on/So you know this be us/ get the cash game right/ take off in the prius"
Yep, that's a new Lil' Wayne lyric.
6. Kiffin's penalty checklist:
Positive: no excess carbon emissions
Negative: attempted armed robbery
7. Will M. tweeted: "This kinda gives new meaning to 'Nu'Keese on the Block.' huh?"
To which I responded, "Yes, Joey McIntyre has more street cred than Nuke does."
8. Andy D. did tweet one shining light: "Remember when boosters just gave players money?"
And, of course, there's a booster connection, Jim Haslam, UT's most prominent athletics booster, owns the Pilot gas station where the attempted robbery occurred.
9. My friend Junaid, a UT grad who managed not to attempt a robbery through four years of undergrad, emailed the following:
"I think we should buy that Pilot gas station and the Rocky Top Market and tear them down. All our guys get arrested there."
It's true. That area on Cumblerand Avenue is like the Bermuda Triangle for UT athletes, go there frequently enough and you vanish from Knoxville without a trace.
See: Banks, James.
10. It only takes one Nu'Keese mistake to ruin the name for the rest of us.
And robbing someone while wearing UT gear is more than enough.
Second best email: "Who robs a college student? 'We got some zigzags, an expired food handlers card, a visa cash card with $17.48 on it, and a Subway card needing one last sticker.'"
Third best email, "Who would have ever believed that a guy named Nu'Keese wouldn't always walk the straight and narrow."
11. No truth to the rumor that Kiffin wanted black jerseys so the players could more effectively rob at night.
Again, there's no truth to it, none.
Remember back when I said I hated Twitter in the summer? I've done a complete 180. I absolutely love it now. Follow me here. From the you can't even make this stuff up, one of the attempted robbers, Mike Edwards, has his own Twitter feed. His handle? @RealGeniusMike
Satire, thy only foe is truth.
And air-pellet guns.