De’Andre strikes: One night out that changed everything

“Nothing good ever happens after midnight”

-Herm Edwards

“I’m not saying he should have killed her… but I understand.”

-Chris Rock on OJ Simpson, Ron and Nicole


God bless the world of sports for relentlessly providing us with never-ending drama, the perfectly imperfect microcosm of our society.  I don’t know whether to thank sports or condemn them.  Incident by horrific incident, we are given the opportunity to collectively interpret events.  How we learn from them will determine whether we progress or regress as a nation, whether we come together or are torn farther apart.

Failure to communicateWhat we have here most recently, other than the apparent failure to communicate, is a sports story that incorporates every imaginable angle of an evening gone wrong: race, age, violence, alcohol, education, class, the law, entitlement, two sides to one fucked up story… essentially, everything that defines us and divides us as a nation of inherent differences and underappreciated similarities.

Bear with me as I try to sort out the madness.

DeAndreDe’Andre Johnson is a college freshman and future star quarterback for Florida State University… or at least he was.  The kid had not even walked into a classroom and he’s already been kicked off the football team.  No word as to whether he’ll be allowed to remain in school or whether he’ll even want to after what happened in a nightclub less than a month ago.  That’s okay.  He learned more in one night about what NOT to do than he would have in four years at Florida State.

Johnson was in a Tallahassee bar when he and a woman bumped into each other competing for bar space.  For a moment, let’s put aside the fact that Johnson is under-aged and has no business being in a bar in the first place.

After the bump, the two got into a verbal then physical altercation which ended up with Johnson striking the female, leaving her clearly dazed and confused.

At first glance, we immediately recalled the Ray Rice incident where he struck his girlfriend in a Las Vegas elevator, the hazy reminder of a disturbingly similar video we saw not long ago.

Deandre punches


But the Johnson case is not that simple or at least that’s what his attorneys would have us believe.

Here’s where things gets interesting.  Excuse me while I ruffle some feathers.

The video recording of the Johnson incident is clear.  What we see, after we witness the “victim” raise her fist is Johnson restraining her, her kneeing him, her shouting at him, her throwing a punch and then him cold-cocking her.  Those around her then rush to her aid trying to figure out what the hell happened in the ten or so seconds that intertwined the lives of these two forever.

JBaezohnson’s attorney is now playing the race card, saying that not only did she strike him twice but also dropped an n-bomb.  Again, here’s where things get interesting.

By no means am I justifying violence, particularly against women but… what if she did?  What if what they’re saying is true?

Let’s assume two different scenarios.  Scenario one is that the defense fabricated the race game.  She never said anything of the sort and they’re just trying to sway public opinion onto the side of their client in an attempt to clear his name or at least explain what provoked such a response.  If that’s the case, both he and his defense team deserve to rot in hell for using such a sensitive issue to defend the barbaric behavior of their client.

Scenario two is that it happened just like they said.  Aside from being the physical aggressor in this case, the woman at the bar also decided to call De’Andre Johnson a nigger.

Let’s say for the sake of this argument that she even admits to it just to put all doubt aside.  Let’s say, this young lady comes clean and says. “Yes, I was at the bar. This guy bumped into me, pissed me off and I called him things I shouldn’t have.”

Then what?

Think about it.  You just hesitated.

Are Johnson’s actions then justified?  More justified?  She dropped an N-Bomb, kneed him and punched him.  Do we now see where the kid could be a little pissed off?

By no means am I suggesting that Johnson was right.  His poor decision-making will stick with him for the rest of his life and rightfully so, but does her egging him on in that fashion soften the blow?  We all saw the video.  Our first instinct was to presume Johnson was 100% guilty.  He’s undeniably guilty of poor judgment but throw in some N-bombs and we have ourselves one cluster of a situation, not one as cut and dry of a guy being guilty for striking a woman.

Here’s the thing.  Johnson should have known better.  There’s no doubt about that.  Walking away is always a solid option.

In no way am I condoning any sort of violence but every black person I know, if someone spitefully hurls an N-bomb in their direction, or never mind black but insert the minority and corresponding racial slur of your choosing and guess what.  It will take everything in their power to react in a civil manner.  Add alcohol and watch any inkling of rationality fly right out the window.

SecuritySure, backing away, allowing the woman to wallow in her own drunken stupidity or calling security over is the sensible response but sensibility is the last thing you’d expect to find in a bar full of drunken nineteen year olds.

So what can we learn from all this?  I’m assuming most of my readers already know how to behave so this one’s for the children.

The next time you’re in public, don’t hit anyone.  Don’t provoke anyone.  Treat those you meet with respect.  Befriend them rather than antagonizing them.  If you do bump into someone, politely say excuse me.  Offer to buy them a drink.  Heck, if you’re hanging out at nickel beer night, that shouldn’t break your bank.  Don’t raise your hand to anyone but if you do, be prepared to back it up.  And if you drop an n-bomb, understand that the odds of you getting smacked go up considerably.

Practicing overall decency is a solid rule to live by.  Do unto others.  The day we no longer have to have these conversations means we’ve finally learned from our mistakes and can move on to talk about something a little more positive.

I’m still holding out hope.  Now maybe I’m the one being insensible.

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26 Replies to “De’Andre strikes: One night out that changed everything”

  1. LOL she can drop the N word at will and he has no right to punch her…ever! Now I have watched the video like most everybody else and she is definitely aggressive, but he grabs her arm first which escalates this to being physical. You can’t just grab people whenever you feel like it. He is 100% in the wrong, case closed. He will lose, badly and should. The bar needs to be investigated as well for underage drinking. Yes I drank underage, probably at Lilian’s 🙂

    It is unfortunate for the kid as he clearly made a wrong choice. That said his first wrong choice of the day was going to a place he shouldn’t have even been in the first place. Book em Dano!

  2. Dude, that was one of your best post that I have read. It was real, it was insightful and very much to the point. The bottom line of how I see it is very simple, it’s called being responsible and accountable for your own actions. I will also say this, not to bring race into it, but if you’re black athlete that is either rich, soon to be rich or have the potential to be very wealthy, you had better be extra careful in what you, where you do it and who you do it with. Simply because the consequences of getting it wrong will be more than likely far less forgiving to you than other people. In other words, think before you act. Great Post Chris. Hope I didn’t ramble to much..

  3. For some reason, a lot of star athletes believe the rules don’t apply to them. I had problems with them when I was teaching- both in high school and in college. Fortunately in both cases, their respective coaches believed that education came before athletics and that you never disrespect a teacher.

    As for derogatory name calling, when you react to the name, you’re stooping to the level of the name caller. Sometimes it’s hard, but just be the better person and walk away.

  4. N-word or not, he’s wrong.

    …Wrong for being there, wrong for hitting a woman and wrong for playing the race card.

    Fucking lawyers are pieces of shit.

  5. I second Bleed’s comment. As far as people actively being decent to one another I am afraid the percentage on that drops as each day goes by. I see all sorts of uncourteous actions in my travels. That doesn’t mean I’m not providing common courtesy and decency 100% of the time…I just have lowered my expectations of receiving it in return.

  6. Stupidity is not against the law. The woman was stupid and ignorant. When I go to a ballgame, I have to subject my wife to drunken profanity. It’s not against the law to swear in public. Guess what, it’s not against the law to use the “N” word in public either, even if shows racism and ignorance.

    Despite her stupidity and ignorance, it doesn’t give this clown the right to strike her, even if she did start the physicality. It takes a big man to walk away from such an altercation. It’s against the law to assault someone—anyone, gender notwithstanding.

    I can’t say whether the school was right to drop him from the football team—especially given that he has yet to be convicted of any wrong doing, but he should be held accountable for his actions, including being dropped from the football program and doing jail time.

    I’m all for giving second chances, but these kids, and even professional athletes, need to learn that the laws apply to them, too. In this case, a second chance means manning up to his own stupidity and taking his lumps. He can worry about his football career later.

  7. Chris

    So when is it right for a guy to hit a woman ? Am I missing something here ?

    Now if the woman happens to be a physically imposing specimen then he might well have the right if he felt he was in danger . But this was a pus#y move by an ingrate . Need we also be reminded Johnson’s lawyer is the very same attorney , Jose Baez , who represented Casey Anthony (whose daughter Caylee) in the now notorious homicide trial . Baez is a Hispanic Johnnie Cochrane wannabe. ! If the $itch did hit first then you must acquit , because my client is a pu#sy and a ni#ga .

  8. I’m shocked this video tape saw the light of day. I guess the FSU ppl used up all their “mulligans” on Jameis Winston.

    Chris, note bartender sensing trouble immediately moved outta view. To quote the late Sgt. Schultz, ” I saw nutting”.

  9. I was taught, no matter what, you don’t hit a woman… I know that’s from a different age and time when women’s rights and equality aren’t what they are now… Beyond being a pampered star athlete, the young guy was not raised to respect women and this is what you get… One fact remains, a man can handle the same physical abuse that would knock a woman silly…

  10. As soon as the first sign of confrontation emerged, the quarterback should have audibilized to a run and gotten the hell out of there. One moment, one lapse in judgement on his part, and he is benched for life. The camera sees all.

  11. I’m around, gang, and reading. Just waiting for a few more comments to come through before I chime in with my answers.

    And kudos to that guy who left a comment disguised as a regular reader. What’s up with that? Have something to say but say it as someone else?

    Bad form.

  12. I repeat my comment from your earlier post. FSU has got to be the National Champs in stupidity / thuggery. Won’t change anything though – they’ll keep on recruiting the best athletes regardless of character (just like all other top-flight programs) and hope for the best.

  13. I want to reply to each one of these comments as I always do but I’m not really sure what else can be said about this incident that I haven’t already said in the post.

    It was a pretty difficult piece to write but as always, it was designed to stimulate some sort of conversation on what the hell is going on these days.

    We’ve debated in the past about whose responsibility these things are: the parents, the school’s, but ultimately, it comes down to this kid making a bad decision. At a time when he had a fork in the road, he took the wrong path.

    Sometimes we don’t see those crossroads when we face them but we sure as hell see them once they’re in our rear view mirror.

  14. D….

    Now comes word that another Seminole has landed himself in trouble with the law. As Gator fans, I guess we can only hope that McIlwain runs a cleaner program than Urban Meyer.

    Oh, and I fixed the comment under yours to (Clearly Not) Heavy D. Sorry for any confusion, people, but those first and second comments are not from the same person.

    In fact, I’m not sure who that second comment came from if he (or she) would like to come forth.

  15. Brotha E…

    Thanks as always for chiming in and for your support of the site. Steve Lowery thanks you also. But you’re right. What lay in front of these kids is an entire future of potential greatness.

    Just gotta watch out for those pitfalls because they’re out there and they don’t always come with a warning label.

  16. Beag…

    All fair points. And the role of the educator cannot be understated.

    Here’s hoping that goes on in major college institutions these days.

    Or is that just silly to hope for.

  17. Bleed…

    Speaking of the law, it’ll be interesting to see if this whole thing goes to court or whether it just fades away.

    I’m guessing it will be the latter.

  18. All we can continue to do, Burnsy, is do the right thing and hope for the best.

    I believe in karma.

    Not sure how many people even know what that is these days.

  19. Conrad…

    In our inconsistently politically correct world, you’d be hard pressed to find a pundit that wasn’t in support of FSU dropping the kid. They almost had to.

    That being said, you raise an interesting point. We can only assume they did their due diligence in researching what actually happened.

    That school and so many others have come under a lot of heat for sheltering their ‘problem children.’ So I can see where and why they did it.

    I’ll be interested in seeing who gives this kid a second chance and what he does with it.

  20. Dwin…

    I don’t know much about the kid’s background, only that he hails from Jacksonville.

    I haven’t heard whether his parents have spoken up publicly in his defense.

    A word from his mom might go a long way.

  21. I saw Dalvin Cook got into trouble too. As a Gator fan I like to bust on FSU as much as possible. That said I doubt Jimbo encourages this type of behaviour. You mentioned it up above by mentioning Urban, but I really think the responsibility belongs to the individual. Urban doesn’t condone that type of nonsense either. I won’t deny that we had some real winners on campus while he was here, but I think to truly win at that level you will sometimes get some bad apples.

    Thanks for pointing out that the 2nd post was not from me.

  22. Yea but D, Meyer had a LOT of problem players on that roster. Maybe because they won so much we took more notice but look at the names:

    Aaron Hernandez
    The Mincey brothers
    Percy Harvin
    Riley Cooper
    Chris Rainey
    Carlos Dunlap
    Brandon Spikes
    Ray McDonald.


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