Missouri has a problem on its hands when it comes to one of its star players.
Three months after being arrested in a car which contained marijuana, rising junior wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was suspended indefinitely on Monday for an undisclosed violation of team polices. Green-Beckham, who is the Tigers' top returning receiver, won't be able to participate in any sort of team functions or practices, effective immediately. Coach Gary Pinkel made the decision after consulting with athletic director Mike Alden.
Since arriving in Columbia as the nation's No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2012, he has made eye-popping plays on the field and created some headaches for his coaches and teammates away from it. He was arrested as a freshman for possession of marijuana before his other drug-related arrest this past January. Charges from January's incident haven't been filed.
We don't know exactly what Green-Beckham is being suspended for, but it's clear that Pinkel has had enough of the antics. He suspended Green-Beckham for one game following his arrest in 2012 and on Monday alluded to the fact that multiple issues went into the decision to indefinitely suspend the Tigers' most talented player.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the right thing to do for our football program, for the athletic department, and also for Dorial,” Pinkel said in his official statement. “We have high standards related to the expectations that come along with being a Missouri Tiger, and Dorial has not met those recently. Representing Mizzou and our fans is a privilege, and we’ll work with him during this process. It’s been disappointing to have this, and other issues which have taken place lately. It’s frustrating, because we work very hard to instill responsibility and discipline in our young men so that our program represents Mizzou the right way. These actions aren’t representative of those expectations, and we are addressing these issues head on."
Pinkel made it quite clear in his statement that he's frustrated and annoyed with Green-Beckham's behavior. Green-Beckham is supposed to be a leader and Missouri's offense is supposed to be revolve around him. It's hard for that to happen when he isn't around.
Tod Palmer of The Kansas City Star reports that Green-Beckham hasn't been arrested but is part of an ongoing investigation. What that investigation pertains to is unknown at the moment, but it was clearly something that sent Pinkel over the edge.
Regardless, it's very clear that Green-Beckham is struggling with his maturity. He's stunting his own growth as a person. He isn't showcasing good leadership skills and is putting himself before his own team. It's a shame because he's a special player to watch, but he's getting in his own way. Coaches don't indefinitely suspend players over petty incidents. This is something that Pinkel feels strongly about and the fact that Green-Beckham is his best player didn't get in the way of suspending him.
It's big of Pinkel, even if it does hurt his team. There are receiving options outside of Green-Beckham for Mizzou to work with, but none have the upside and overall skill. He was the nation's top receiver coming out of high school for a reason, and with L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas gone, this season was supposed to be the moment for the true Green-Beckham breakout we've been waiting for.
It certainly could still happen, but it isn't a given if Green-Beckham's off-the-field behavior isn't remedied.