Violent assaults at Alabama, Pistorius murder case among week’s most disheartening events

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It’s too bad we won’t see any more of Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel this year. The guy has one of the best names in college basketball, and who doesn’t like blurting out “Nerlens!” when he throws down a dunk in some dude’s face. You’ll be missed, Nerlens.

Alabama may have won the last two BCS National Championships, but its football program’s image took a big hit this week after four freshmen were accused of assaulting and robbing a student on campus. It’s scary that even non-essential players at a school like Alabama can commit serious crimes and face fewer repercussions than if a regular student were to overtly beat someone, steal their belongings and drive off as if they were in some mob movie. One of the players is also facing a weapons charge, and I’d wager that this won’t be the last we hear about this incident. The best-case scenario would see the players involved kicked off the football team, perhaps even out of the university altogether and punished so that something similar never happens again. There’s plenty of violence on display during a normal football game, and there’s no excuse for a head coach at a major football school to allow these actions to transpire. I don’t think this is what Tupac Shakur envisioned when he coined the phrase “Thug Life.”

South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend was found dead at his home this week, shot multiple times because, Pistorius says, he thought she was an intruder. He has since been arrested and charged with premeditated murder in Pretoria Magistrates' Court, with prosecutors citing previous domestic disturbances at Pistorius’ home. Nike has since pulled an ad featuring Pistorius that ran on his personal website. The text of the ad? “I am the bullet in the chamber.”

I’ve got a question about cases similar to Pistorius and other athletes that find themselves in and out of court after achieving success in their sport of choice: If the trial of any athlete were to be televised on a regular basis, would you watch? I might just have to sneak a few minutes of the Pistorius trial if it was being aired.

Michael Jordan turns 50 on Sunday and told LeBron James that he would take Kobe Bryant over James any day of the week. Classic basketball sentence. The greatest of all-time telling the guy who’s on pace to steal that very moniker that another all-time great player is good enough to beat him one-on-one. James must have realized it’s not too outlandish a statement. It just so happens James is on one of the hottest streaks in the history of basketball. Seven straight games with 30 or more points while shooting through the roof and LeBron is essentially offering an elongated shrug to Jordan’s comments. No one has ever played basketball on a professional level as well as LeBron James is playing in the month of February. His team is winning, too. He’ll get a chance to relax with everyone else over the All-Star break and pick up where he left off next week.