Lewis Unglesby said Jefferson was not fighting with anyone outside Shady's Bar and is being punished for the wrong reason. Jefferson and reserve linebacker Josh Johns were arrested and charged with felony second-degree battery on Friday and subsequently suspended from the team. An eyewitness has told police that she saw Jefferson kick a man in the face outside the bar.
Unglesby said he's talked to employees at the bar who tell a different story from what's in the Baton Rouge police report and that police should have never arrested Jefferson.
Obviously, Unglesby feels like he's representing Jefferson's best interests, and certainly if Jefferson is being wrongly accused here, you can only imagine how much this is killing him. He's worked as hard as he ever has to get to this point, and everybody around him has raved about his improvement. This is his senior season, and the No. 4-ranked Tigers are about to open the season against No. 3-ranked Oregon in a matchup that could end up being an elimination game in the national championship race.
All that aside, the worst thing LSU could do at this point is reinstate Jefferson simply because Jefferson's attorney is pushing for it. That would certainly not be in LSU's best interests, and I don't see any way it's going to happen unless the charges are dropped or possibly reduced.
When criminal charges rise to a felony level, it's usually out of the coach's hands. That decision goes much higher, and a school simply isn't going to play somebody with felony charges hanging over his head.
The distractions, not to mention the negative publicity that this whole bar fight has created, have been bad enough for LSU.
Think what it would be like this week if Jefferson had not been suspended and were still playing in this game.
A tough environment to prepare in would quickly escalate into an impossible environment.
Everybody at LSU is pulling for Jefferson to come through this and have his name cleared. He doesn't have a history of trouble, and from my end, has always been a stand-up guy to deal with.
But until this thing is resolved, LSU can't risk putting him back onto the field.