Pratt, cops and a committee

Editorial Board

The perception is this: Kenny Pratt is being allowed to continue competing for Iowa State because he’s a good ball player.

The reality may be far different.

The reality may be that Pratt did not kick an Ames police officer in the head several times, hard enough to loosen the officer’s tooth.

The reality may be that Pratt was not driving drunk without a license.

The reality may be that Pratt did indeed drink enough Nyquil, as he has said, to make it appear that he’d been drinking beer or hard liquor.

We hope, for Pratt’s sake and the sake of the university, that all that’s true.

But Ames police have charged Pratt, a starting senior forward from Chicago, with the contrary. The charges — which include driving while intoxicated, harassment of a police officer, interference with official acts and serious assault of a police officer, all misdemeanors — stem from an automobile accident in which Pratt was involved Dec. 28 at the intersection of Lincoln Way and Dakota Avenue.

Pratt was suspended from the team for one game by Coach Tim Floyd following the incident but then reinstated by an athletic department appeals committee pending the legal outcome of the charges.

The committee’s decision is puzzling, to say the least.

The natural question is: What possible argument could be compelling enough to let Pratt keep playing? University rules state rather plainly that athletes charged with such alleged crimes as Pratt’s are not to compete.

The rules do allow athletes to appeal their suspensions on a case-by-case basis to this rather strange committee.

But from our meager outside perspective, the charges against Pratt seem serious.

Are we to assume that a suspension given by a coach is only to be upheld when the charges are of a monumental scope, like rape or murder?

And in Pratt’s case at least, there’s a precedent. He was placed on one year’s probation Nov. 20 after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

In that incident, too, police accused Pratt of bumping a police officer and yelling obscenities.

What’s more, there are universities out there that apparently take criminal activity on the part of their athletes a little more serious than Iowa State.