By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:37 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Middle linebacker Rolando McClain hasn’t been ruled out of Sunday’s game in Miami, but he can expect a serious conversation about his legal problems with head coach Hue Jackson.
“Here’s the bottom line. There’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things, and obviously there was something done wrong,’’ Jackson said following practice Friday. “So we’ll go and deal with that accordingly from there.’’
Jackson said McClain was not at the team facility but expected a face-to-face meeting in several hours. The Raiders boarded a charter for Miami following practice.
McClain was arrested and charged with third degree assault, reckless endangerment, meancing and discharging a firearm within city limits Wednesday in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., where he was attending the funeral of his grandfather.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL will follow the legal process before making any determination on discipline for McClain.
“It will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy we do not have an estimated timetable,’’ Aiello said in an e-mail Friday. “It is a legal matter and we will follow developments.’’
Decatur defense attorney Billy C. Burney told the Associated Press McClain did not fire a gun and gave the following statement: “Mr. McClain asserts his innocence. We are confident Mr. McClain will be cleared of all charges.’’
Jackson said he was not inclined to wait for either the NFL or the legal process before determining what was best for the Raiders.
“(I) have now gotten more information and can make a very informed decision on what I think is best for our team and I’ll do that in the next day or so,’’ Jackson said. “Obviously, there’s a situation that happened and I’ve had an opportunity to digest it all. The important thing is we focus on this game.
“I have 52 other players that are doing things the right way and doing things as I see they should be doing it and we’re getting ready to play a game. I will deal with Rolando when that time comes.’’
McClain was officially ruled as “questionable.’’ If McClain doesn’t play, Darryl Blackstock is next on the depth chart and would get playing time but defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said there are other options in terms of aligments and packages if McClain doesn’t play.
Jackson said he is confident McClain’s issues will not be a distraction, and Raiders players echoed that sentiment.
“You can’t be affected by that,’’ quarterback Carson Palmer said. “You need to have your thoughts and prayers with he and his family at a tough time, but this team is 100 percent focused on the Miami Dolphins right now.’’
Said Raiders safety Tyvon Branch:
“We’ve got one game at the end of the week and that’s our focus for the week,’’ Branch said. “Whatever happens during that week, we have to channel that stuff out and take care of business on Sundays.’’
Although the accuser was not named by police, he was identified and quoted by the television station WAFF and the Decatur Daily news as Rishard Tapscott, 23.
McClain and Jerradius Willingham, who was charged with assault and released on a $500 bond, were high school basketball teammates Tapscott at Decatur High School.
In an interview with WAFF, Tapscott explained his side of the story.
“I went over there, it was basically like an ambush, like they set me up to fight, because as soon as I got there they all went outside and I was sitting in the house,’’ Tapscott said. “That’s when they came back in the house and they were like, `You’re going to have to fight, come back out and fight.’ I was like, `I ain’t fighting. I ain’t coming outside,’ and that’s when he came back in the house and assaulted me.’’
According to the police statement, Willingham initially fought with Tapscott, who then crawled to his car. It was at that point McClain allegedly put a gun to his head, with Tapscott begging for him not to shoot.
(Tapscott was referred to as the victim in the report, not by name).
It was then that McClain allegedly put a gun to his head, then pulled away and fired.
Jackson said he was disappointed McClain put himself in a bad situation.
“We’re not going to let one thing bring down what we’re accomplishing, by no stretch of the imagination,’’ Jackson said. “Am I disappointed? Yes, just like anything. You get disappointed in your kids. All these guys are like my sons. And when they make mistakes, there’s consequences and things you have to deal with.’’