Five Arkansas Players Suspended Amidst Rape Accusations

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Arkansas Fans React To The Suspensions

Over at SB Nation’s Arkansas Expats, the suspensions were predictable, but still slightly confusing:

Both Courtney Fortson and Stefan Welsh have been suspended indefinitely. Welsh we knew about, but the news on Fortson is at least somewhat surprising. It was known that he would face some type of suspension after his infamous tweet, but Pelphrey’s comments make it sound like additional factors are at work as well.

“[Fortson] has to come to me,” Pelphrey said today, according to Robbie Neiswanger. “He has a couple of personal issues he wants to try to handle, and we’re going to try to do that with him … [It] says ‘indefinite suspension.’ This is not something we’re going to resolve over a weekend or whatever.”

As for the rest of the suspensions, freshman forward Glenn Bryant will be out for two games, Marcus Britt for 6 games, and former Pink Floyd drummer walk-on guard Nick Mason for the rest of the semester. All three were named in the police report on what’s become known as the “frat house incident.” Britt also was arrested on DUI charges over the summer.

All suspensions begin with Friday’s season-opener against Alcorn State. Toss in the fact that forward Michael Sanchez is probably out for a good while with plantar fasciitis, and the Hogs will open the regular season seriously depleted.

The “infamous tweet” they reference occurred when Courtney Fortson made light of the alleged rape, saying on Twitter:

I’m gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol

And... Wow. As offensive tweets go, that was a particularly inspired effort. (And Welsh, it should be noted, was suspended for a reason unrelated to the alleged rape.)

Still, while nothing official has been put forth by the university linking the alleged rape to the suspensions of the other 3 players—Britt, Bryant, and Mason—it would appear that the incident is at the heart of all this. And the suspension suggests that Arkansas officials, while not necessarily convinced of their guilt, are certainly concerned as to whether these student-athletes may wind up getting charged in this affair. Stay tuned.


Five Arkansas Players Suspended Amidst Accusations Of Rape

News emerged early this morning that Arkansas will be without five scholarship players throughout the first month of the season. And our own Searching For Billy Edelin offers some commentary:

The best way to draw questions to your basketball program is to tip-off your season opener with only nine players in uniform. Well Arkansas will be in that precarious position for a few weeks, maybe longer, as John Pelphrey is cleaning up some dirty laundry from undisclosed incidents that date back to the end of last season. Five players have been suspended, including starters Courtney Fortson and Stefan Welsh for an indefinite amount of time. Reserve Marcus Britt will be out for the first six games. 

Ironically, the Razorbacks seventh game of the season is against Oklahoma, so let's all make a mental note for when Pelfrey wakes up on December 1st and announces Fortson and Welsh have been absolved and appropriately repented for all the childish acts they were caught doing over the summer.

Notably, three of the players (Britt, Glenn Bryant, Nick Mason) that were suspended faced charges of rape earlier this year. The charges were dismissed, but are pending review by a special prosecutor after the District Attorney was alleged to have a conflict of interest in the case. It's entirely possible that one or all of the student-athletes accused could still face charges--in the meantime, it seems that these suspensions allow Arkansas to hedge their bets, while they wait for the outcome to be decided. Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey had this to say:

"In the course of this process, we analyzed each student-athlete's situation independently and made determinations based on each set of circumstances. We will continue to address disciplinary matters in a straight-forward manner and take action when players do not meet the expectations of conduct required of our student-athletes. Our program remains committed to representing the University of Arkansas, individually and collectively, in an appropriate manner."

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