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Shuffling off to infamy

Buffalo doesn't have a counterfeiting problem — but it does need to curb its bad Bills
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 22, 2009

PICKED OFF: Buffalo safety Donte Whitner was busted raising hell at a Cleveland night club, the third time a Bill starter has been arrested this off-season.
Tasering Donte. Sounds like a movie title, doesn't it? Starring Michael Pitt, Derek Luke, and Hillary Swank. With George Dzundza and Michael Caine. An IFC special, about a washed-up cop (Dzundza) who mistakenly Tasers an angry young student (Luke) from the ghetto, only to team up later with the boy's heart-of-gold teacher (Swank) to teach him not only to love Shakespeare, but to stand up to the mean, rich bully (Pitt) at the exclusive prep school in the white suburbs, the secretly racist headmaster (Caine) of which wants to revoke Donte's scholarship. The thing basically writes itself.

The actual story, though, is about Donte Whitner, the starting safety for the Buffalo Bills, who last week became the third Bills starter this off-season to get arrested. You might recall numbers one and two: first there was Ko Simpson, Whitner's partner in Buffalo's defensive backfield, who was arrested on New Year's for hindering a police investigation at a night club in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He reportedly refused to leave the car of his friend, who had been pulled over for speeding in the parking lot, and hurled insults at the cops, shouting "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills. I am worth millions!" Then there was Marshawn Lynch, the Bills' starting running back, who was arrested on felony-weapons charges in February in a suburb of Los Angeles. Lynch recently racked up a three-game suspension from the commissioner, which perhaps wasn't the strongest punishment, but will keep him off the field for the opening-week match-up against the Patriots.

Now there's Whitner, the former Ohio State star, who was arrested after an altercation at a Cleveland night club. According to police, Whitner tried to force his way "in an aggressive manner" past police into an area where they had told him not to go, saying "My cousin's out there and they've got guns." He then broke free from police who were restraining him. That's when they introduced Whitner to their friend Mr. Taser. Whitner was taken to jail, booked on aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting charges, and then released on bond.

The poor Bills have had a bad run and are creeping ever so slowly in the direction of Cincinnati Bengalhood. Next week, when they select the 11th pick of the draft, there will surely be a premium on getting a guy who is not likely to be arrested.

Making matters worse for the Bills, their backup running back, the weirdly effective Fred Jackson, has begun a campaign to win himself a contract by pressuring the team to invest in "character" players such as himself. In the wake of the Whitner arrest, Jackson's agent, Jerry Douglas, blasted the Bills for claiming to value character while leaving their good guys without contracts. "Public statements are great as long as you mean what you say," he said. (That's going to go over great in the locker room.)

Even though Whitner seemed psychotic (and this is at least his second police incident — he was also nabbed for non-criminal harassment of his live-in girlfriend in 2006), I'll shave off some points for getting Tasered, so give him 45. It bears repeating: sooner or later, an athlete is going to get killed by a police Taser. Just last week, a 16 year old in Detroit was killed by a Taser shot after a routine traffic stop. A few weeks before that, a 15 year old in Bay City, Michigan, was killed after being shot with a Taser, dropping to the ground and "flopping around" like a "fish out of water."

No mistake this time
Here's a really weird one. Three students from Virginia's Norfolk State University (including two athletes, one of each gender) and three other suspects were busted last week for what police are calling a series of armed robberies.

According to cops, two young women, including hottish NSU volleyball player Jourdan Nicole Ellison, were used as bait to pick up military guys at a bar. The girls would lure them back to a hotel room, where they would be robbed at gunpoint. Police reportedly discovered eight guns, 20 credit cards, and a cache of cell phones, jewelry and cameras— all believed to have been stolen— in the homes of two of those who have been arrested.

Another suspect, NSU power forward Brandon Monroe, was busted for robbery last year, but had the charges temporarily dropped after claiming it was a case of mistaken identity. (Must have been that other 6-7 guy, I guess.) This time, he's insisting he was "just the driver." Looks like these charges might stick. Seventy points for using a gun.

Related: D-Back rampage, Deltha force, NFL follies, More more >
  Topics: Sports , AFC East Division, American Football Conference, Buffalo Bills,  More more >
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 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

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