Bayou Bengal Briefing: What was the deal Monday with the LSU investigation that wasn’t?
Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football with beat writer Nick Suss. Today we discuss investigations that weren’t, numbers that will be, commitments that almost were and much more. Enjoy!
So, uh, what was that?
The biggest LSU news Monday ended up not being news at all.
Early in the morning, TMZ Sports reported that freshman LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips was being investigated for sexual assault by Baton Rouge police. But I’m not going to link to that story. Because it ended up being somewhat off-base.
A few hours later, reports broke from local media outlets that BRPD will not be pursuing the assault charges because the allegations didn’t come from a credible source. According to at least one East Baton Rouge official, there is no investigation to speak of.
I don’t want to harp on this story too much because it doesn’t amount to much. But there are three things I need to say:
- If this claim was truly unfounded, let’s all put it behind us and not let it hang over Phillips’ career.
- Regardless of whether this claim was unfounded or not, this should not be an excuse to assume all allegations levied against athletes are unfounded. I get that everyone is innocent until they’re proven guilty, but it’s important to know that accusations should be thoroughly vetted and that victims shouldn’t be further victimized by a horde of fans accusing them of lying “for attention.” In this situation, the would-be victim didn’t even disclose her name. This had nothing to do with fame.
- Still, let us all remember that we have to be discriminate and thorough in what we say and what we believe. I, for one, didn’t tweet or post about this until the dust settled. Let’s also remember that in the internet age, scrutiny is more critical than ever. So don’t automatically believe the first thing you read. Give everything time.
In LSU baseball news:
In somewhat unsurprising news, LSU baseball’s famed No. 8 is being passed down from former second baseman Cole Freeman to left fielder Antoine Duplantis.
Like No. 18 in football, No. 8 is bestowed upon the upperclassman who best embodies what LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is looking for in a player and in a leader. Before Duplantis, No. 8 belonged to Mikie Mahtook, Mason Katz, Alex Bregman, Jake Fraley and Freeman, dating back to 2009.
Duplantis hit .316 with 14 doubles, 61 RBI and 50 runs scored in 2017. Despite hitting only 2 home runs all season, Duplantis finished second on the team in RBI. Only Greg Deichmann and Kramer Robertson posted more total bases than Duplantis in 2017. The left fielder will be a junior in 2018.
In pro baseball news:
Former LSU pitcher Aaron Nola continued his hot streak for the Philadelphia Phillies Monday. The 2014 first-round pick and ace-in-waiting threw 7 shutout innings, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowing just 4 hits in total.
Since the beginning of June, Nola has thrown 40 1/3 innings and allowed 12 earned runs for an ERA of 2.68 across six starts. He has 43 strikeouts vs. just 12 walks in that time, as well. This is compared to his first six starts where he posted a 5.06 ERA, allowing 35 hits in 32 innings.
Because of his rough start to the year and brief DL stint, Nola was not selected as the Phillies’ MLB All-Star Game representative. But one former LSU player did make the cut: Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
In recruiting silliness:
LSU target and 4-star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was scheduled to announce his commitment to either LSU or TCU on Monday. But, thanks to scheduling conflicts on the NFL Network, the Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel wideout had to postpone his commitment until at least next week.
To make a very long story short, Chase was supposed to commit during halftime of The Opening’s 7-on-7 championship from Beaverton, Ore. But the two men scheduled to go before Chase ran long, bumping Chase’s slot to resume the game. Rather than commit after the game, Chase elected to postpone his announcement, return to Louisiana and talk things over with his family a little longer.
Reminder: Recruiting is fun but recruiting can be very, very, very silly. And oftentimes, like this situation, it’s not even the kid’s fault.
Arbitrary Analysis: Fourth of July edition
As you probably know since you’re not at work today, today is Independence Day. So, to honor the holiday, here are my picks for the top 5 songs with the word “America” in the title.
No. 5: Kids in America by Kim Wilde
I wanted to include James Brown’s Living in America in this slot. But I had to give at least one nod to bubblegum pop. And since Miley Cyrus’ Party in the U.S.A. doesn’t explicitly have the world America in the title, we settle for this epic 1980s anthem. Long live new wave.
No. 4: American Idiot by Green Day
The title track off the album that introduced me and a horde of other children of the aughts to punk rock, American Idiot is far from patriotic. It’s about as scathing of an indictment of the Bush administration as there was. But face it. This song rocks. We are not the ones who are meant to follow.
No. 3: American Girl by Tom Petty
A great song and the inspiration for an even greater Scrubs episode, this might just be the best song in Tom Petty’s historic catalog. Who among us hasn’t sang along to the call-and-respond of “Oh yeah, all right” in the middle of the choruses? None. That’s who.
No. 2: American Pie by Don McLean
For my money, this is the second-greatest song ever written. Don McLean’s haunting ode to the music and culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s is among the most emotional portraits of human life ever depicted. So what if it’s become clichéd by years of classic rock radio overplay? This song rules. And it’s only bested by one song. In more ways than one.
No. 1: America by Simon and Garfunkel
My deep, deep love of Paul Simon’s music has been more than chronicled in this column. But, for my money, this is the greatest song ever written. It’s hard to write a song without a single rhyme and make it flow like the deepest poetry. And it’s even harder to weave a heartbreaking story in three minutes. Simon does just that. By the time this perfect song crescendos to a conclusion, there’s nothing left to do but sit still.
Or, to quote Zooey Deschanel, listen to this song and you can’t help but feel that one day, you’ll be cool.
Today in made-up holidays
In addition to being our nation’s Independence Day, this day is also National Caesar Salad Day according to NationalDayCalendar.com. Which is weird. Because Caesar was kind of a dictator. And dictators are very un-American.
But, if you so please, have a Caesar salad on the side of your burgers and hot dogs and potato chips and coleslaw and whatever else you eat on the Fourth around your parts. I, for one, plan to do so. But that’s because I have limited supplies in my home for food and one of the things I do have is a Caesar salad.
Sometimes life works out.
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