Gary Patterson said Wednesday after practice that the two players have gone through TCU’s judicial process, and that both players have been welcomed back to team after what he described as a three-week suspension.
Granted, this doesn’t mean that the players are home-free from the Tarrant County courts (even though the Tarrant Count DA has yet to formally file charges against the two), but it does mean one important thing: Gary’s got a major reason to believe that Tuaua and Petties-Wilson deserved to get back with the team.
And given Gary’s history, there’s a much stronger reason for getting those players reinstated than getting two players back on the field.
Patterson’s been long-known as a disciplinarian when it comes to players getting caught up in lawless foolishness - that’s a given. Any look at his track records proves that much.
Ask former stud receiver Ladarius Brown what Patterson thinks about players who get caught with weed in their vehicle, or former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields about what happens when accusations of domestic assault come to light. Ask former All-American Tanner Brock what Patterson thinks of selling weed, or ask former LSU transfer David Jenkins what happens when a player decides to steal laptops from dorm rooms.
Ask all these players what the penalty is for foolishness. They know the answer. And just about any player who decides to act a fool gets treated the way they were treated. It’s almost expected for TCU by now.
That’s why there’s something special with Tuaua and Petties-Wilson. The players - Tuaua in particular - seemed to get something exceedingly rare from Patterson when the news first broke.
"You've never ever heard me speak up for a kid if he did wrong ever, but you did now," Patterson said of Tuaua on Sept. 22, as well as saying that he expects more facts to come out. “"I'm not going to let you all say this guy [Tuaua] is a bad person.”
That strong character judgement is one that Patterson has rarely given out in his tenure as a football coach. Notably, the last time (and likely only time) Patterson gave such a strong statement backing character and a reason to come back from legal issues was when Casey Pachall returned from his misadventures of 2012.
Pachall’s story is well-known by TCU fans at this point, but just like Tuaua, Pachall wasn’t kicked off the team forever, kicked out of school or denounced publicly by school officials for being a bad example.
Instead, Pachall was encouraged to go to rehab, and returned to the team after being willing to change. Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, donated $100,000 to TCU’s Alcohol and Drug Prevention program. He also gave one of his most famous Patterson-isms: “For all of you who only think that it’s about wins and losses, wrong… it’s still about the kids.”
Of course, when the next semester came around and Pachall had his time in rehab, he was welcomed back with open arms.
Just like the Pachall decision was, the decision about Tuaua and Petties-Wilson is also a decision about something beyond wins and losses.
It takes a lot for Patterson to not kick out his players out after a law run-in as he’s done in the past. It take even more to stand up and defend players who are under the massive, intense magnifying glass of a critical media.
But now, Tuaua and Petties-Wilson are back, and still have the support of Gary Patterson.
And that took a strong character call.