Friday, January 20, 2012

Darryl Stonum Dismissed from Football Team

The Michigan football program announced on January 17, 2012 that wide receiver Darryl Stonum is no longer with the team. Stonum had been suspended from the 2011 season for a DUI charge. Stonum would have been a true senior in 2011 but was granted a redshirt by head coach Brady Hoke.

Stonum's redshirt will not come to fruition because he violated "team rules." It later became public knowledge that he had violated probation by driving himself to the probation office. Stonum was senteced to ten days in jail. has the story, but here's a quick snippet:
Stonum, 21, was charged with violating probation after being ticketed Thursday morning by Ann Arbor police for driving on a revoked license.

He was pulled over after stopping at a probation office downtown, where he lied to a probation officer, telling him that a female friend had dropped him off in the area. Stonum was charged with the violation because of the ticket and lie, said Stonum's probation officer, Steve Hill.

While Stonum admitted in 15th District Court today that he violated probation, he said he wasn't aware of any infractions on his Texas driver's license that would prohibit him from driving. Judge Charles Pope said Stonum will have to convince the court that he can continue in the sobriety court program.

"Nobody did this to you," Pope said. "You did this to yourself."

Officers led Stonum away and took him to a cell.

Pope said earlier that Stonum has had four alcohol-related encounters with the criminal justice system, which he called "extremely unusual" for someone Stonum's age, putting him among less than one percent of the population.
When initially asked about Stonum's status, Brady Hoke said, "Until we know everything, it hasn't changed." At the Michigan blog known as Maize n' Blue Nation, Brad speculated on the possibility of Stonum's permanent suspension and what it meant for the team:
Given the nature of these wrongdoings alone, I don't think they merit a dismissal from the team, but certainly the frequency of these mistakes and his decision-making ability overall signal a serious problem. Darryl has been a bright spot for this team when he has played, and I certainly don't want to see him go, but I wouldn't be surprised if that did happen.
Most Michigan bloggers agreed with this assessment. It seemed unlikely that Stonum would be dismissed from the team for driving to meet his own probation officer. Brady Hoke said that it was also important to hold players accountable for their actions, and Stonum's decision, while probably made with good intentions, was still a mistake. Upon reviewing Stonum's situation with the Ann Arbor courts, and the violating of probation, Hoke decided that it would be better if Stonum did not continue with the football team.

"I love Darryl and wish him nothing but the absolute best," Brady Hoke explained in a press release. "However, there is a responsibility and a higher standard you must be accountable to as a University of Michigan football student-athlete. That does not and will not change. It's unfortunate because I believe he has grown a great deal as a person since the beginning of the season. My hope is that maturing process continues."

So Stonum's status went from being in limbo to officially removed. For Michigan fans, this is a shame largely became Stonum's ability was being looked forward to at his position. Michigan will need a playmaker at wide receiver, and fans were hoping that Stonum (having sat out the 2011 season) would be that player.

Michigan will now have to pursue other options at the position, which is one of the Wolverines' deepest. They still have Jeremy Gallon, Roy Roundtree, Drew Dileo, and Jeremy Jackson, among others.

"I appreciate everything the University of Michigan, Dave Brandon and Coach Hoke have done for me," Stonum said in the same press release as Brady Hoke's. "I look forward to continuing my football career down the road, but more importantly, right now I'm focused on graduating from Michigan this spring. I understand only I am responsible for my actions. I'm sad about how all of this turned out, but I completely understand. I love this school and my team and will miss them all greatly. But I'll always be a Wolverine. I know I have grown and matured as a person over the last nine months, and I will continue to learn and grow every day. I want to thank everyone for all of their support, and I hope they will support me in the future."

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