Arrest or no arrest, Mizzou needs to throw the book at DGB

We don't know exactly what Dorial Green-Beckham did to merit Monday's suspension from the Mizzou football team. But we can connect the dots to see he's done enough to merit a punishment that hurts. And sticks.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Throw the book at him.

And by "book," we don’t mean Goodnight, Moon.

We’re thinking more along the lines of Atlas Shrugged.

Second edition. Hard cover. Delivered by Yordano Ventura.

Make it hurt. Make it stick.

You don’t punish an innocent man. Ever. Unless, of course, the innocent man has a history of turning up in the police blotter and dragging your football program through his own personal patch of mud.

Throw the book at him.

Anyone can be a victim of circumstance. But when the circumstances recur, again and again, the victim card gets chucked from the deck.

Dorial Green-Beckham needs incentive.

Give him one.


One-game suspension? Been there, served that.

Two games? Missouri’s all-world receiver would miss a road trip to Toledo. That’s a punishment?

Three. Start there. Minimum. Charge or no charge.

Central Florida’s Knights, your defending Fiesta Bowl champs, roll into CoMo on Sept. 13. The Tigers probably need all hands on deck. Leave DGB off the boat.

Make it hurt. Make it stick.

Throw the book at him.

We hear you. Why punish an entire team, potentially capsize a season, because its star player has a habit of acting like a knucklehead?

Why? It’s called peer pressure. One guy in the wind-sprint line jumps, everybody runs doubles.

Same principle.

Funny how the jumping stops after that.

We don’t know if DGB is a bad kid or just runs in a bad circle. Here’s what we do know: Green-Beckham has a judgment problem, a tendency to double down on dumb, a predilection of being at an unfortunate place at an unfortunate time.

Which in itself is not a crime, per se, but it does have a history of attracting the wrong kind of crowd. Namely, college-town law enforcement.

Green-Beckham was suspended for one game after being arrested in October 2012 on marijuana possession charges. Then, in January 2014, there was another marijuana-related arrest, this time in his hometown of Springfield, Mo.

We know this, too: Police in Columbia, Mo., are investigating a first-degree burglary at Brookside Townhomes between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Sunday. We know residents of those aforementioned townhomes have told reporters that DGB, the sophomore who led Mizzou this past fall in receptions (59) and receiving touchdowns (12), was involved in an incident at the complex at roughly that same time.

We know DGB was suspended indefinitely Monday from the football program for an unspecified "violation of team policies." As a general rule, that’s student-privacy code-speak for any number of things, ranging from the unfortunate to the unseemly.

But the more dots that emerge with this particular narrative, the more unseemly it turns.

The Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader reported that the suspension, according to his adoptive father, (Springfield) Hillcrest High School football coach John Beckham, is "not tied to Green-Beckham’s latest arrest" on Jan. 10, when an officer reportedly found a pound of marijuana in a car the Mizzou wideout was riding in.

According to the Columbia (Mo.) Missourian, DGB was involved in an incident Sunday at Brookside between 2 and 3 a.m., and a woman was seen pounding the window of a car in which the Mizzou wideout was sitting as it left the scene.

A Columbia (Mo.) Maneater report said DGB was involved in "a physical altercation early Sunday morning." The story continues:

"Another Brookside resident, who declined to be named, told The Maneater that Green-Beckham was involved in a fight at her apartment this weekend but chose not to comment further.

"After the altercation, (townhomes resident Mike) Henke said he ran back into his house to call the police. Outside, (Henke’s roommate Chris) Connor said the neighbor who asked him to call 911 told someone else that Green-Beckham was beating up a girl.

"Connor said a girl then started banging on a white Dodge Charger and screaming while a man yelled at her from the car as it was driving away. Connor said five to 10 people were outside watching the incident."

Now the details therein are unconfirmed hearsay at this point, he said/she said, and as anyone who’s ever played the game "Telephone" knows, that can be a slippery slope.

But there’s some plain ol’ dumb in there, somewhere. That’s a certainty. The only question is to what degree.

Throw the book at him.

Make it hurt. Make it stick.

It’s a shame and a waste, not necessarily in that order. Green-Beckham is one of the best wide receivers in the SEC, if not the country, a 6-foot-6 Megatron clone with the wingspan of a Harrier jet and a pair of pogo sticks for legs. His four scores at Kentucky last November set a single-game Mizzou record.

To defenders, he’s the ultimate red-zone nightmare, because there isn’t a jump ball between the pylons that should not, by the laws of physics, be his and his alone. Fade. Corner. Slant. Whatever. The only limits are a coach’s imagination and simple geography.

He’s not the first million-dollar arm and five-cent head, as Crash Davis used to say. Nor will he be the last.

But even if the current investigation in Columbia doesn’t turn up anything worse, or anything at all, it doesn’t erase the headlines. Or the scrutiny. Or the questions.

When you sign up for the glory, you sign up for the fishbowl, too.

Make it hurt. Make it stick.

Green-Beckham might have been the No. 1 prep football recruit in the country. He might be able to soar with eagles. Health and fortune permitting, he will soon be a millionaire. There have been, and will be, doors open to him that might never be opened for anyone else, opportunities and choices beyond our wildest dreams.

The young man might run in different circles, live in a different world. But he can’t live under a different set of ethics, a different rule of law.

Dumb is human. Dumb is allowed. Dumb is forgivable.

Habitual dumb is not.

Throw the book at him.

It’s DGB. He’ll catch on. Eventually.

You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com.