October 13, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Anthony Alford (2) throws the ball during the first quarter against the UCF Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Anthony Alford Arrested

Despite my happiness in a title full of alliteration, the fact that Anthony Alford has been arrested is not good news for Jays fans.  As per this article, the charges are a bit more serious than a cliche university student arrest of public drunkenness and the like.

I may have been a bit flippant above, as not only is it bad news for Jays fans, but all those involved really.  A quick look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines aggravated assault ‘as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.  This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.’

Reading the University of Southern Miss’s student write up on the event, two handguns were found on the scene and both Alford and fellow student Korey Hathorn were being held without bond.  This is a serious situation.

I was going to expand on Alford and the struggles of USM’s football team this season when I got to the second last piece in my series on the 2012 draft class.  In short form, I am no football expert, although I do enjoy college football.  But when you combine the fact that USM went 0 and 12 this past year, fired their coach, and Alford’s statistics include a 44.9 completion percentage and a meager 3.1 rushing average, you would think that the freshmen quarterback would be having second thoughts on playing baseball part-time.  Best case scenario, Alford packs in his football cleats for baseball full time.  Starting the 2013 season in the Gulf Coast League as an 18 year old, and effectively rejoining the development curve before it is too late.  As, make no mistake, Alford is a very raw talent, who, if he were to complete four years of college football and then decide he wanted to revert to full-time baseball would have dug himself a hole that may have been too deep to get out of.

I am sure the Jays brass would have done all sorts of research on Alford’s football pedigree, making their decision to draft him and spend 750,000 dollars to sign him while letting him play football seem wise in the wake of USM’s and Alford’s personal struggles.  However, this incident brings all sorts of additional issues into the equation.

Without speculating, if Alford is able to continue his baseball career come spring training, and that must be considered a bit ‘IF’ given the seriousness of the charges, the Jays have always said they are willing to give players a second chance.  But Alex Anthopolous has also stated that third and fourth chances would not be given.  Now we have an 18 year old, with potential character issues, on his second strike.

I’m an optimist, and, again, if Alford is able to resume his career, one can only hope that he handles the incident in a similar vein to how Marcus Stroman has dealt with his PED suspension.  Apologize, educate, and work your tail off to prove you are the player that Toronto thought you were.  Let’s hope Alford takes notice.

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  • L Barker

    As someone who knows Anthony Alford, let me first clarify one of your statements. the Jays do NOT have an athlete with a character problem! Anthony is a sweet,
    respectable and all around good kid. The facts are still not in as to what exactly happened yesterday, I would advise you and everyone else to hold your judgement until the details come out. Also, keep in mind he is an 18 year old kid with 18 year old judgement, who of us is perfect now much less when we were 18. Give the kid a break, you are getting a first rate young man and an amazing athlete.

    • billy boy

      yeah a respectable kid who was found passed out by the East Hardy Street bridge a couple of weeks ago after gettin piss drunk at the club Taste. Hope he does better in the big city than he can here in lil’ ol’ Hattiesburg MS

      • vilifyingforce

        Unless this is habitual I really don’t see a big issue with a young guy getting loaded, if it wasn’t for friends there are a few nights I wouldn’t have made it home; go out partying and get carried away, it happens when you’re young.

        • Charlie

          ya, I’m not going to throw stones for getting drunk at University. Pot/kettle/black

    • Jays Fan

      While I don’t know all the facts, I have read that guns were found at the scene. If that is true, Alford is facing expulsion from the University. What is next is to be decided. He could go the baseball route, but I think it is more likely he transfers and continues playing football.

      Anthony and his family have to understand that they are in a spotlight now. His mother was arrested in September for going after a fan that was critical of his play.

      • Charlie

        Showing my naivety of US college sports, but surely if he is expelled from one school for a grievous offense then he couldn’t just transfer to a different school and carry on as if nothing had happened? Or is it just about the bottom dollar in college sports (similar to pro sports really)

        • Jays Fan

          He absolutely can transfer to another university. It’s scary to think, but there are kids allowed to play that have broken the law daily. Some more serious than the Alford allegations. The kid is a top flight athlete and if expelled, he would definitely get another opportunity somewhere. He may have to sit out a year, but he would get a chance. The NCAA is definitely run by money and football rules the world.

          • Charlie

            That is somewhat worrying, but sadly not surprising. I would expect the Jays to make more of an effort to get the kids some help (if they deem it is required) than a major college who do seem to only worry about the bottom line.

            And if he has to sit out a year, hopefully that would be the push to baseball he needs.

    • Charlie

      I don’t think I was presumptuous to Alford’s character. Nor did I try to speculate on the charges as, you say, the facts of the evening are not fully available, nor will they be (in fact, I believe the charges have reduced already). That being said, I don’t think it is unfair to ask questions about his character based on the events of last week, and I’m guessing the Jays are asking the same questions.