Vacation II is complete. I can’t remember more Ole Miss news breaking while I was on vacation than has happened this July.
And it’s not finished.
There’s been the Park Stevens tragedy, the Carlos Davis eligibility issue and Marshall Henderson.
Henderson’s news overshadowed Davis by a long shot.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Henderson was pulled over for a traffic stop on May 4. The newspaper cited a police report in saying the officer smelled marijuana inside the car, that the car was searched by a police dog and that Henderson handed the officer a bag with a “nugget” of marijuana. The dog found a plastic bag with a small amount of what appeared to be cocaine, the report said.
Henderson was eventually cited for failing to provide proof of insurance, but no other charges were filed. Henderson was described as “cooperative” during the traffic stop, and the Wall Street Journal story said the officer’s report indicated that the district attorney would not prosecute such a small amount of cocaine.
On July 10 Ole Miss emailed a news release announcing Henderson had been “suspended indefinitely” for violation of team rules.
This came just weeks after comments in June from Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy that praised Henderson’s improved behavior.
“He’s been very consistent in doing the things you want your senior to do,” Kennedy said in June.
Kennedy was quoted last week at a basketball event in North Augusta, S.C., as saying that recent events do not mean Henderson won’t be part of the team this season. “Otherwise he’d have just been dismissed,” Kennedy’s quote says.
Ole Miss has kept Henderson away from media this summer, but Henderson has been active on social media, and last week his hashtag in a tweet after he spoke with former NBA guard Chris Herren said #notgoinanywhere.
I tried Sunday to get an opinion from Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork on how recent events might affect Henderson’s career with the Rebels. An Ole Miss spokesman told me that the athletics department is “deferring to AK’s statement at this time.”
As a refresher, here’s Kennedy’s statement from the release announcing Henderson’s suspension: “Since the season ended, we have talked a lot about Marshall taking a greater leadership role with our team. With that comes greater responsibility, and he must do a better job of living up to the high standard we expect from him and he desires from himself.”
Henderson’s hashtag may prove correct. The school has had more than two months since the traffic stop to analyze things, so it appears he’s on course to play unless he does something else to violate the standard.
The disappointing thing for Ole Miss is that the Rebels’ story moving forward should be about a team coming off a strong March run, an SEC tournament championship and an NCAA tournament win over a solid 5 seed.
Instead it’s about Henderson’s behavior.