It was the only decision Gary Pinkel could have made, and also the right one.
Missouri announced Friday afternoon that star receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was dismissed from the football program, just a day after the release of a damning police report in which he was accused of forcing his way into a female student's apartment and pushing her down four stairs.
Green-Beckham was suspended from the team indefinitely Monday, but the news came Friday that the talented junior receiver was done for good. Pinkel said that decision was made in conjunction with Missouri athletic director Mike Alden and "made with the best interests of all involved in mind."
In fairness, it would have been difficult to arrive at any other decision after reading the disturbing details in the police report as well as the revealing text messages between Green-Beckham’s girlfriend and the woman he's accused of pushing down the stairs.
The 18-year-old female student said the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Green-Beckham forced his way into her apartment in the wee hours of the morning Sunday and pushed her down at least four stairs. Green-Beckham was looking for his girlfriend, who later pleaded with the woman through a series of text messages not to press charges.
Sure enough, the woman didn’t press charges and cited her concerns about a potential backlash if she pursued the matter and a high-profile athlete such as Green-Beckham were to be arrested.
On Thursday, the Columbia (Mo.) police department announced that there would be no arrests in the case and that the case was closed after police did not get the proper cooperation.
Legally, Green-Beckham might have skated, but the damage had been done in terms of his Missouri football career. It was his third brush with trouble since arriving on campus in 2012 as the No. 3 high school prospect in the country.
Pinkel's core values for his football program are worth noting. One is being respectful of women, and Pinkel is on the record as saying that he spends a lot of time with his players on this topic.
Another one of Pinkel’s core values is not using drugs. Green-Beckham, who would have been a junior, already has two drug-related arrests on his record since coming to Mizzou.
The first core value in Pinkel’s program, though, is honesty.
So let’s be brutally honest here: If this were Pinkel's daughter who, according to the police report, was pushed down the stairs by Green-Beckham in her own apartment, there would have been zero chance of DGB returning to the team.
It's particularly troubling that an 18-year-old female is so scared and feels so threatened by the possible repercussions that she can’t bring herself to press charges against somebody she says broke into her apartment and then physically pushed her down stairs.
The text messages from Green-Beckham’s girlfriend are equally alarming, especially the one in which she says Green-Beckham had also hurt her and dragged her by the neck.
She later told investigators that she had been drinking and didn’t remember sending that text.
Clearly, she was concerned about Green-Beckham’s livelihood and his chance for a professional football career being damaged. That’s a common theme when talented players, especially those such as Green-Beckham who overcome tough backgrounds, go astray off the field.
But there’s also a line, and some of those lines you simply don’t cross.
One just happens to be among Pinkel’s core values in his Missouri program.
Even for the most talented of players, and players who would make a profound difference on the field, those core values apply 100 percent of the time.
That message rang out loud and clear Friday, when Mizzou sent one of the most gifted receivers in college football packing.
Where the Tigers go without him isn't as important as the fact that they did the right thing. Granted, there's not much depth coming back at receiver. Senior Bud Sasser is a returning starter, and fellow senior Darius White could be a breakout player next season. But between Green-Beckham and departed senior L'Damian Washington, the Tigers are losing 22 touchdown receptions.
That's a big loss for any team, and with sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk stepping in full-time as the starting quarterback, his development will become even more critical.
It's unfortunate for Mizzou and college football fans everywhere that we won't get to see Green-Beckham soaring into orbit to snare touchdown passes next season, or looking like he was shot out of a cannon after turning upfield on a slant route.
But this one's on him. He left the people at Mizzou who had stood behind him (namely Pinkel) after earlier missteps no choice.
Arrest or no arrest, he'd run out of chances.