Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tillman Granted Absolute Discharge

The courts have granted Tillman’s request for an absolute discharge after he plead guilty to a charge of sexual assault. It’s basically the legal equivalent of letting him off with a warning. He’s guilty as charged but no further punishment has been deemed necessary. As long as he doesn’t do it again in the next year he’ll have no criminal record.

While this is the end of his legal troubles, his status with the Roughriders is still very much up in the air. Tillman indicated that he would like to stay with the team but understands that the ultimate decision lies with the Board of Directors. They will be meeting tomorrow and won’t be making any further statement on the matter until they have reached their decision.

There are 2 highly polarized sides in this debate: those that firmly believe Tillman should be let go and those that firmly believe Tillman should be kept on and neither side is willing to listen to arguments of the other. The thing I find ironic is that the people that believe he should be dismissed do so not because of what he did but the fact that he did something bad. Those that believe he should be kept do so because of what he’s done with the team not what he’s done with his babysitter. I’ve heard very few arguments on either side that are based on the actual incident itself.

This is a very difficult decision for the Board to make. There will be hardship regardless of their decision. If Tillman stays then there will definitely be a flood of public criticism and negative media attention that will follow the team all season. If Tillman goes then we will be letting one of the most successful GMs in team history walk out the door and will likely face a flood of public criticism.

My gut instinct is that the team will ask Tillman to resign but I guess we will see tomorrow.


CK said...

I agree with your gut instinct, but I hope that he stays on - not only because of his record as GM. The court gave him an absolute discharge, the girl (and her family) have forgiven him, and he was completely doped up at the time of the event - to the point that he doesn't remember how he got home or even that the event took place. He is responsible for his actions, and he has certainly been the brunt of a lot of public scorn because of it. What more do people want from him?

I've heard of the "drunkenness defence" being used in murder cases - and I'm certain that Mr. Tillman could have used a similar defence in his case (the Bombers often seemed as though they were using this defensive scheme this year). However, I think he wisely chose to say, "Yes. That is what happened. I'm very sorry that it happened." What would be gained by having a trial, other than making more of a circus out of this than there has already been? What would be gained by firing him? What's to be gained by him resigning?

Are you telling me that his actions - while doped up on painkillers - tarnish the team's reputation? I'd say our inability to count the number of men on the field tarnish our reputation far worse.

His actions aren't in the same league as the sexual assualt conviction of Trevis Smith. They're not even the same sport. People cannot rationally compare these two incidents in any way at all.

I could go on...but I'll stop there. Someone's sure to tear me a new one for saying this. And, like you, I fully expect that he will resign...although I truly hope that he won't.

Wilma said...

I don't want him to resign. I don't think he needs to resign.

The description of the event, the actual assault, is what has made up my mind.

I don't condone/accept/minimize the behavior, but every woman I know has had much more intrusive things happen to her. If he wasn't a public figure, this would never have been reported.

Rider Prophet said...

I agree with both of you on this.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not this WOULD have been reported is not the issue. It was reported, he did it, and he got away with it. Disgusting. No 50year old man should be groping a 16 year old girl- in front of his children, no less. Drug/alcohol use it NOT a defense or justification. Furthermore, we all use OTC meds from time to time, I haven't accosted anyone as a result. Have you?

I don't want a person with this sort of image representing my community. My preference would be for the BoD to hold him accountable for the taint this has placed on the community and the team. If he has any grace whatsoever, he will resign and take a job outside of the public eye.

Rider Prophet said...

First of all he didn’t “get away” with anything. He was charged and pled guilty to sexual assault. Just because the judge did not sentence him to anything doesn’t mean he “got away” with it. Plus he’s likely going to lose his job over it.

I’ll agree that the drug defense is shaky at best. But the incident was completely out of character for ET some maybe there’s some truth to it.

No one is saying that what he did wasn’t wrong… it was wrong. All I am saying is that I don’t think he deserves to lose his job over it. I’m sure if you went back and looked you could find a ton of examples of positive things ET has done in the community over the past 3 years. I don’t buy into the idea that one solitary, brief screw up is enough to justify running what has otherwise been a decent man out of town.

PS – I’m assuming based on your comments that you yourself have never in your life done anything wrong or illegal.

PPS – you used the word “taint”… haha! that’s a funny word.

CK said...

If Anonymous had never done anything wrong/illegal, then s/he wouldn't have used the name Anonymous...unless her/his parents actually gave her/him that name. Which would actually be kinda cool...

"Hi, I'm Anonymous. What's your name?"

Ronbo the Riderfan said...

Drunkeness defense is weak in my opinion because drinkers know what is possible when the drink to much. Eric was dealing with severe pain and lack of sleep caused by the pain; he likely had no idea that combining the drugs was going to have wierd side effects. He has been punished more than the 'crime' deserved already simply by having it made public and subjected to court proceedings.

A sober person doing something like that deserves some sort of punishment (which the law has provided for), a drunk person doing something like that deserves pretty much the same punishment with a ban on his booze intake as well, but someone who inadvertantly renders himself incapable of being rational has committed no crime.

I'm probably in the minority here but I think he should be able to keep his job.