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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Gonzo's offseason somehow gets weirder

By Eamonn Brennan

Just when you thought Bobby Gonzalez's offseason couldn't get any weirder, the man gets arrested for (allegedly!) shoplifting a $1,395 satchel from a Polo Ralph Lauren in a New Jersey shopping complex.

Read that again. Yep. Your eyes aren't fooling you. It's just that weird. From NorthJersey.com:
According to reports, the manager of store told police that the manager of Joe’s American Bar and Grill returned a men’s satchel to her that belonged to Polo Ralph Lauren and said an individual came into the restaurant, left the satchel with the hostess and never returned.

The satchel, valued at $1,395, was reportedly damaged in the area where a sensor tag had been attached. An investigation into the incident by the Millburn Detective Bureau resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Robert P. Gonzalez, 47, of Harrison, N.Y., for allegedly removing the sensor device from the satchel and walking out of the store without paying for the item.


A quick search of the online Polo Store (hat tip to blog brother Diamond for the find) reveals this men's satchel -- the Deerfield Vachetta Mailbag -- priced at $1,395, which means it might well be the bag Gonzo was allegedly trying to shoplift. Polo describes it as a "handsome messenger bag, exquisitely crafted in Italy from smooth leather and finished with antiqued hardware for an inspired vintage quality." Others might call it an overpriced, mass-produced man-purse. To each his own, really.

In any case, the charge is yet another in a string of brutal personal turns for Bobby Gonzalez. The former Seton Hall coach's tenure was punctuated in March with a brutal New York Times profile that codified Gonzalez's reputation as a coaching tyrant. Then, following Seton Hall's ugly final game in 2009-10, Gonzalez was fired. In the months since, there have been tell-all interviews and revelations of Gonzalez's famed tirades -- one of which was reportedly directed at his bosses and one of which weirdly came at the expense of a college hoops reporter at the NBA draft. Basically, everything we've learned about the coach since his firing has been overwhelmingly negative.

But this beats all. If true -- and this is where you can insert the trusty old "innocent until proven guilty" maxim -- it would not only irrevocably damage Gonzalez's already flailing reputation but, more importantly, seal his coaching fate. Gonzo wants to coach again. That was always an uphill situation. Now it's a question mark. What program would hire an accused shoplifter, let alone a guilty one?

If Gonzalez was hoping to bring a handsome leather man-purse to interviews, that hope is now gone. And not just because he got caught.