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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By Bethany Bradsher

Police blotter eclipses good storylines

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Was it really just last month when you couldn’t swing a purple foam hand on East Carolina’s campus without hitting one of the national media members in town to do a feature on the new darlings of college football?

Tuesday brought a new, smaller wave of media attention, but this time it came for all the wrong reasons. It was revealed that leading Pirate rusher Jonathan Williams was arrested on Oct. 5 for resisting an officer and that a separate incident from Saturday is under investigation.

Head coach Skip Holtz followed that bombshell with the news of Williams’ indefinite suspension.

What we don’t know about this situation certainly outweighs what we know. But a few things are as sure as the sunrise: Fans are frustrated, coaches are dismayed, talent is wasted, and the solid, hardworking young men on the ECU roster – the vast majority – are sadly eclipsed by the few who have decided to major in bad choices.

If ECU manages to finish its season with the same kind of spirit that marked its beginning and goes on to contend for a conference championship, it will be thanks to those players who try to shine so brightly that the cameramen will turn their flash away from the police reports.

It’s those athletes, the Zack Slates and the Van Eskridges and their ilk, who will keep fans hanging on through this latest drama.

That perspective goes well beyond the gridiron program. If upstanding football players aren’t getting deserved attention amid the controversy, imagine what life is like for the standouts in low-profile sports that are heroically representing East Carolina day in and day out.

The Williams story has the potential to make the Pirate Nation feel more like a third-world country. The anecdote: Get to know the players and teams that wear purple and gold and excel in obscurity.

Pirates like these:

The women’s soccer team is still on a matchless roll, still undefeated in the conference with a 6-0-2 Conference USA record and its highest regional ranking ever.

The Lady Pirates were ranked seventh in the Southeast by one poll and eighth by another this week. With 11 overall wins, they have tied the school record for most victories in a season, with three games left before the conference championship.


The women’s golfers invited 20 other teams to the Greenville Country Club for the annual Lady Pirate Intercollegiate this week – and showed their hospitality by taking second place. Led by junior Abby Bools – an all-tournament selection who finished tied for third overall with a three-day score of 220 – the Lady Pirates notched their third top-three finish in four tournaments.


For her part in boosting the women’s swim team to a 4-0 record, senior Amanda Duncan has been named C-USA Co-swimmer of the week. Duncan placed first in both the 100 and 200-meter butterfly in the Pirates’ most recent win against Davidson.


It’s not the kind of thing he wants press for either, but Brock Young should get a prayer every time Williams gets a condemnation. Young and ECU recruit Ledrick Eackles were assaulted and robbed in the parking lot of the Copper Beech apartments late Saturday night. They will both be fine, and police found and arrested the perpetrators in just days.

An episode like that can be traumatic long after it occurs, and the support of Young’s team and larger fan family will be like a balm with ECU’s first tip-off just three weeks away.

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10/22/2008 01:56:41 AM

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