On Monday afternoon, yours truly made the rather obvious point that now was probably not the best time for Jerime Anderson, the UCLA guard who stands accused of grand theft after allegedly stealing a fellow student's laptop on campus last week, to be headlining the so-called "I LOVE COLLEGE!!! ATHLETES PARTY!"
Anderson's plans were made before his arrest last week, but the Facebook events page still said the party would be "hosted by Jerime Anderson." Last Thursday, Anderson's co-planner, Loyola Marymount guard Edgar Garibay, said that despite "some [expletive] going on," that he had spoken with Anderson and was sure the Bruin was still planning on attending.
You don't have to be a crisis management expert to realize how bad this would look. A UCLA player accused of stealing another student's MacBook Pro headlining a party about how much the partygoers love college? Yeah. Bad idea.
Apparently, Anderson now agrees. ESPN Los Angeles's Peter Yoon brings word that Anderson took to his personal Facebook account this week to apologize for his "conduct" and "poor judgment." In the meantime, he and his lawyer made clear that he would not be attending any parties anytime soon:
"I am terribly sorry and embarrassed for my conduct and poor judgment that I’ve used recently," Anderson wrote in the post on his personal Facebook page, according to a UCLA spokesman and confirmed by his attorney, Jon Artz. "I have embarrassed my family, friends, teammates, coaches and university and I am extremely sorry for that."
"I will not be attending any social events and I am saddened and disappointed for my lack of judgment," the post said.
"He was involved in this party and now he’s not and he’s trying to make it clear," Artz said. "He had the event scheduled prior to making huge mistake. Now he's not going to this party or any party."
According to Artz, Anderson has contacted the party organizers and asked that his name be removed from the event entirely. That goes for the Facebook group, too. And on Monday, Anderson went one step further, clarifying on his Facebook page that he would not be a part of the event at all, according to a UCLA spokesman:
“Just to clarify any misunderstandings I will not be hosting, attending, or doing any promoting for any parties or events. So if anyone was or is wondering if I was still a host for the “I Love College Athlete Party” I have removed myself from the event and have no affiliation with it whatsoever.”
It never feels good to scold a college kid about his social decisions. Hey, we all make mistakes (especially when we're in college). But it wasn't difficult to see how Anderson's continued participation in the party could have hurt his own chances at returning to UCLA, let alone further diminish the Bruins during an already embarrassing ordeal. The laptop issue is a serious one. The party thing is silly. But when you're already embroiled in a mess, the worst thing you can do is pile some unnecessary silliness on top.
Instead, Anderson did the right thing. He apologized. He seemed sincere. And he stepped away from the social scene five days before the real damage could take hold. No harm, no foul. Now he (and UCLA) can get back to focusing on the real problems at hand: the felony charges that might end his career at UCLA anyway.