Oregon coach not ready to take action against James
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – Oregon coach Chip Kelly will wait before deciding whether to take disciplinary action against LaMichael James, the star tailback jailed this week on domestic violence charges.
“There can’t be a rush to judgment,” Kelly said at a Friday press conference. “When a decision is made, and if he’s convicted, we’ll make a decision.”
James, 20, was arrested after his girlfriend told police he choked her and threw her to the ground during an argument. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was released from jail Thursday afternoon.
The arrest was the third for Oregon this offseason, prompting criticism of the coach who took the Ducks to the Rose Bowl in his first season.
Kelly told reporters he stresses discipline and reminded them he recently dropped two players from the team for violating unspecified team rules. One of those players, defensive end Matt Simms, had been arrested for investigation of misdemeanor assault.
“I have let players go from this program already because they haven’t lived up to the rules that are set forth for our program,” Kelly said. “But I need to get all the information first before I do that.”
James rushed for 1,546 yards last season despite starting the year as the backup to LeGarrette Blount. He got his chance, and made the most of it, when Blount was suspended for punching a Boise State player immediately following the Ducks’ season-opening loss to the Broncos.
Kelly suspended Blount for the season before deciding to let him return late in the year. On Friday, he dismissed the suggestion that reinstating Blount showed he was soft on discipline and contributed to the recent problems.
“I had a running back last fall I suspended for eight games,” Kelly said. “The NCAA rule is one, so I don’t think that our players think that they’re going to get away with anything.”