The only noise on UCLA’s campus Tuesday came from the constant buzzing and jerking sounds of the construction site next to the Bruins’ football practice field.
There was no media camped out outside the Acosta Training Complex, and it appeared to be business as usual for the football team. That’s hardly the case.
This was the day after rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs was arrested by UCLA Campus Police after an alleged assault against UCLA strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi.
Diddy’s son, Justin Dior Combs, is a junior defensive back on the UCLA football team but rarely sees playing time.
A kettle bell was allegedly used as a weapon, according to the Bruin Report Online. This stage dad episode made fathers in the football reality show "Friday Night Tykes" look like amateurs.
Justin Combs should’ve gone silent.
He should’ve been horrified and embarrassed over his father’s actions, and let his father answer for his poor choices. Justin Combs should’ve done what teenagers do when their parents cross the line with coaches and duck and cover.
There is now a remarkable divide between Justin Combs and his UCLA football family. Combs chose the side of his father instead of his teammates. In most situations, family support is necessary. Not in this instance.
Yet, Diddy’s actions cannot be defended. Not even by his son.
Justin Combs is in an awkward spot to be sure. His 45-year-old father, who gives new meaning to the term ‘helicopter parent,’ made that so.
"The various accounts of the event and charges that are being reported are wholly inaccurate," said Nathalie Moar, a representative for Combs Enterprises, in the statement. "What we can say now is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son."
Alosi, who worked for the New York Jets, is famous for the incident in 2010 when he stuck out his knee on the sidelines of a game against Miami and tripped the Dolphins’ Nolan Carroll.
After watching surveillance video of Monday’s confrontation at UCLA, only one arrest was made. That was Diddy.
A UCLA spokesman said the school would have no further comment on the situation other than Jim Mora’s statement the school released on Monday.
Justin Combs should’ve ignored the urge to weigh in on the story that has become fodder for sports, entertainment and news outlets.
Jokes about kettle bells and helicopter parents are trendy on Twitter.
Justin Combs’ career at UCLA very well might end over this after such a promising beginning. Not for playing time but for an opportunity for a son who wanted to escape out of his father’s shadow.
Three years ago, when Justin Combs was a freshman, he told me in a sitdown interview for the Los Angeles Daily News that his father and mother, Misa Hylton, taught him well about being a celebrity’s son. One of the things he learned was that "tweeting only gets you in trouble."
Combs forgot that sage advice.
His father, Sean Combs, did what he wanted at UCLA and often would watch his son practice with closer access than people with handicap placards. He would park his luxury cars just outside of the gate to the football field, where there are no parking spaces, just walkways reserved for emergency vehicles and delivery trucks. A place where you or I would get towed. A few hundred yards away sits a parking structure for $12 a day.
It’s one small example of how Sean Combs did what he wanted, and he was not told otherwise. If he was, he continued to park there anyway. Parking officials should’ve ticketed him daily, but Diddy isn’t used to being held to the standards of people who make far less zeroes in their paychecks. He’s apparently not used to coaches yelling at his son and throwing him out of practice, either.
Happens all the time in high school, college and NFL practices across the country. Yet, somehow, the son of Sean Combs wasn’t supposed to accept being treated like everyone else.
And Sean Combs allegedly got physical over it.
Fox Sports first reported the confrontation, and Bruin Report Online reported details of the physical confrontation that involved an intern, too.
It would be difficult for Justin Combs to remain on the team after the incident unless his father was banned from campus. It’s now near impossible after Justin Combs supported his father.
Justin Combs has by all accounts worked hard to distinguish himself as his own person, player and student. He was on the winter honor roll this year.
He first became the subject of a national controversy as an 18-year-old freshman when he accepted a full ride scholarship. Many figured he should’ve given up his athletic scholarship so someone who didn’t own keys to a Maybach could afford school. He didn’t. He wanted to shed the title of Diddy’s son and earn things on his own. Blaze his own path. It was understandable.
Should he have embraced generosity and gave his scholarship to someone whose parents couldn’t afford college tuition? It would’ve been nice. Did he have to? Of course not.
Of that controversy, Justin Combs told me: "It didn’t really affect me. It happened so late. I signed in February, and this happened right before I came here. I’m guessing it was something stirred up by the media. It’s unfortunate I was scrutinized for getting good grades and working hard just because of who my dad is.
"Just like him, he created his own legacy. I want to be the best I can be."
Yet if he wanted to distinguish himself from his father, he never would’ve posted support for his father.
The altercation was over offseason, volunteer workouts in June. Diddy clearly needs a new hobby.
Perhaps, Sean Combs has already had confrontations considering his son doesn’t get much playing time.
Justin Combs played in four games this past season on special teams and as a backup defensive back. He made one tackle in UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC.
But the biggest hit he made was the one delivered Tuesday, with his social-media post supporting his celebrity father who stands to be charged for alleged assault against one of his UCLA coaches.
The noise from that blow was louder than any jackhammer out here.