Everyone got that?
File this under "not ideal for the first day of training camp."
Via the Durham Herald-Sun.
North Carolina defensive back Malik Simmons, who was indefinitely suspended from all team activities July 24 after a second arrest, took part in the first day of UNC's fall camp Monday morning.
While the senior was on Navy practice field in Chapel Hill, his name was called at the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough for a first appearance following misdemeanor citations for resisting a public officer and possession of marijuana. No one answered for Simmons.
On July 24th, UNC announced that Simmons had been suspended from all team activities for a "violation of team rules." That violation was Simmons' arrest two days prior on Franklin Street for resisting arrest. It was a second time in three months Simmons had run afoul of the law. In May, Simmons was cited for possession of marijuana.
Simmons court date for both violations was consolidated to August 3rd which is also the first full day of football practice at UNC. However since Simmons had been suspended from all team related activities making the appearance in court wouldn't be an issue right? Apparently not.
According to Fedora after Monday's practice, Simmons has in fact been reinstated which explains his presence at practice. What, if any, team activities Simmons missed in the nine or so days since his suspension was announced is not clear. In that respect the suspension didn't seem to be all that punitive for Simmons. At any rate it isn't great from a perception standpoint.
Then there is the matter of the court date. Simmons was not present when his name was called nor anyone representing him. It is possible Simmons dropped the ball and didn't show. It is possible Simmons retained counsel who didn't show up or said counsel is dealing with the issue after the scheduled court session. At this point no one knows what is happening or even if a warrant has been issued for Simmons failing to appear.
Obviously hindsight is 20/20 but it seems to be given when the court date was scheduled, Fedora could have simply left Simmons suspended until after the court date. Once Simmons has taken care of that obligation and there is an idea where the legal process is headed, Fedora could reinstate the senior cornerback and address any consequences once the case reaches its conclusion.
Ultimately Simmons' charges aren't a huge deal other than an illustration of poor judgement. The issue here is the perception. UNC again is bungling the PR game and regarding something that should be easily handled. It is not uncommon for college football players to have these types of issues from time to time. As a head coach of a major Division I program there should be processes in place to address these issues when they arise. The way this has unfolded makes it appear Fedora's program is lacking those processes or executing them poorly.
Malik Simmons' court date is now set for Thursday, an Orange County court clerk just told me on the phone.— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) August 3, 2015
Hopefully someone will be there this time.