Ray Ray Armstrong has been suspended by Al Golden for Saturday's game against Florida State "violation of team rules", which sources say is related to this tweet. (Note: This story was first broken by Inside The U, but their story is behind a paywall, so I can't link to it.) The tweet, which came from Armstrong's account but was deleted shortly thereafter, featured a twitpic of a fried chicken breast from Prime 112, where Armstrong was dining with Ari Washington (@arinicolelife), the president of Double Coverage PR, a fledgling Miami-based public relations firm.
There is speculation that Armstrong could be told to sit out for the remainder of the season. If so, he would've played five games this season, tallying 25 tackles and one interception. It would be a very disappointing end to a season that was supposed to cement Armstrong as a first round pick. But here's the real question: should Armstrong ever play another down at UM?
Armstrong was one of eight players suspended this season in the wake of the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Needless to say, the entire program needs to be on its absolute best behavior for the next, oh, I don't know, two decades. It absolutely cannot have players dining with representatives for sports or PR agencies, let alone at a restaurant frequented by Shapiro. And it certainly cannot have a player publicly tweeting that he just had dinner with the representative of a PR agency. That this discussion is even being had three months after the allegations broke is astounding in itself.
A responsibility, as always, falls on the coaching staff and the program writ large to explain to the players the severity of the situation and, more largely, what type of people they should and should not be around and what they should and should not be doing and what they should and should not be tweeting, if they're tweeting at all. But as we all know, the coaching staff can't, as much as they would probably like to, police the players all day and night or type tweets for them, if they allow them to tweet in the first place (which they probably should, in my opinion). The onus is on every college player to not break NCAA rules, or send out tweets that make it appear that you might be breaking NCAA rules. But Miami players have a special responsibility to not even create an illusion that something is going on that would break NCAA rules, and that goes double for someone who was already suspended for breaking NCAA rules. Maybe Ray Ray Armstrong paid for his dinner and had a nice chat with Ari Washington about television shows, but when it comes to UM players in the immediate wake of the Nevin Shapiro scandal that really isn't the point. That Armstrong would tweet that he was at dinner with a representative of a PR agency — no matter how benign the dinner itself — shows a baffling lack of maturity.
So, what to do with Ray Ray? Let's assume that he cares about the program and his teammates and is not a selfish brat putting other people at risk to further himself. But as someone that— for the moment, at least— is on the verge of being one of the lone seniors on what will be an extremely young team next season, is "meaning well" enough? Miami is in its current predicament because players meant well; hell, even Nevin Shapiro, it could be argued, meant well. But Miami's margin for error is zero, and if its players can't understand that, or can't remember that, then maybe the program is just going to have to find players that can, talent be damned. It's not in a position to accept anything else.