Judge Margaret Taylor became briefly famous last week when she publicly ripped South Florida head coach Charlie Strong for actions of two players he inherited.
“Let’s just say my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now. And I have a message for your coach as well,” Taylor said. “Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players — very violent felonies. This court, and I’m sure I’m not alone, questions whether you have control over your players. It’s fairly clear that you do not have control over them off the field and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field. I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.”
Taylor was roundly criticized for the comments on grounds that her words assumed guilt of a defendant who had been convicted of nothing — though the player in question, LaDarrius Jackson, has since been arrested for an identical crime as the one he was on trial for in the first place and has since been kicked off the team — and that Strong did not recruit Jackson in the first place.
Taylor recused herself from the case, and on
Wednesday Tuesday she held a brief meeting with the man she rebuked. Neither Taylor nor Strong spoke after a 10 minute meeting at the Hillsborough County court house, but both sides said the meeting was productive. “It was a very positive conversation,” Chief Judge Ron Ficarrotta told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think Coach Strong was able to educate Judge Taylor on some of the issues. It went very well.”
USF spokesman Brian Siegrist told the paper that both sides left with “a good understanding.” He added, “I know he appreciated the judge reaching out to him.”
Here’s hoping for all involved that Strong and Taylor don’t cross paths professionally again.
The day after the meeting between Strong & the judge, USF defensive end LaDarrius Jackson was arrested again, charged with suspicion of sexual battery and false imprisonment for an incident which reportedly happened on March 27th.
<Note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the meeting between Strong & the Judge was held Wednesday. This has been corrected to show the meeting was held Tuesday.>