Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Should Badgers worry about player safety?
By Adam Rittenberg
For the second consecutive summer, a Wisconsin football player has been attacked in downtown Madison, Wis.
Quarterback Tanner McEvoy, a junior college transfer from New Jersey, was mugged early Sunday morning, near the State Capitol. Thankfully, McEvoy wasn't seriously injured and returned to team activities Monday after suffering several cuts on his head. He had his wallet, watch and iPhone stolen. A police report lists four people -- two men and two women -- as potential suspects in the mugging.
"First and foremost we are happy that Tanner is physically OK after this attack," Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said in a prepared statement. "It's terrible to get a call about something like this but we are grateful the injuries were not serious."
Former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was attacked last August by four men near the university campus. Ball suffered a concussion and missed the start of preseason camp. The fourth and final suspect in the attack recently was taken into custody.
Police linked Ball's attack to a previous fight involving Wisconsin football players (Ball was present but didn't participate), while they believe McEvoy's mugging was a random act.
Madison has had a spike in crime downtown, leading police to commit more resources to the area last summer. The Badgers football program has to be concerned by the recent events, as it sells recruits on the opportunity to play and study in a fun and safe environment. Wisconsin isn't the only Big Ten program located in an urban environment -- Minnesota and Ohio State are located in larger cities -- but other programs haven't had players attacked like this.
Football players often travel in groups, but both Ball and McEvoy weren't with any teammates when they were attacked by several people. It's probably a good idea for the Badgers to travel in packs for their late-night activities.
Here's hoping things turn around in Madison, arguably the nation's best college town and my favorite place to visit in the Big Ten.