Rocky pot

It's murder time in Tennessee; Plus, Warren Sapp gets flagged for hands to the face
By MATT TAIBBI  |  February 17, 2010

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Late last May, a goofy-looking guy named Charles Austin Corn — a student at the University of Tennessee — was shot in South Knoxville in what looked like an attempt to rob his stash. He was unable to communicate with police after the shooting and died five days later.

Cops eventually classified Corn as a high-level pot dealer who brought his stuff in from the West Coast. The case went to a grand jury last August, but no charges were filed relating to the murder.

Fast-forward to December, when then-Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin dismissed a defensive back named Brent Vinson from the Volunteers squad, on the player's birthday of all days (at least Kiffin had the decency to wish Vinson the "best of luck"). There were hints at the time that it might have had something to do with the Corn incident, since Vinson had been considered a witness to the shooting.

Vinson, however, strongly denied having anything to do with the shooting and has complained about getting kicked off the team. "I haven't been in any trouble for me to be dismissed, or all those media things that came out that said I was dismissed," Vinson said on a radio show last month. "I just want the truth to be said. That's all I want is for what's right to be done."

Vinson subsequently moved to Alabama in the hopes of enrolling at the University of Northern Alabama to play football. He was down there last week when US marshals picked him in connection with the Corn case. He was charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence, and so far there are no public reports indicating what he did to command those charges.

It's hard to say so far what the hell is going on here, but dope-dealing/murder cases involving big-time college-football players are not exactly common. The best known is probably the Thunder Collins incident, in which the one-time Nebraska star was tried and convicted of shooting two people (killing one) in a botched drug deal. Then there was Bethune-Cookman quarterback Brandon Wright, who was charged with attempted murder in a totally insane drug-related case involving a guy who owed him money. Wright hit the guy with a shotgun and then bound his hands and feet with tape. When the guy somehow managed to escape, Wright chased after him and attempted to run him over with his truck.

We'll update the Vinson story as details emerge, but for now let's give him 89 on the badness scale. No one should die over weed.

What a Sapp
Meanwhile, in a more high-profile case from Super Bowl week, rotund ex-Buccaneers defensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp got busted on a domestic-violence charge while covering the big game in South Florida. Sapp was at a Miami Beach hotel with a woman he'd been dating for a few years when he apparently decided to go through the woman's cell phone while she was sleeping. Finding some male names in there he didn't like, the woman says, Sapp woke her up and opened a proverbial can of whoop-ass.

The affidavit from the woman said that Sapp choked her, picked her up, and threw her down. She apparently had bruises on her neck and a swollen knee. Sapp claimed the woman had fallen off a couch.

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