You knew he was going to say it, but it was still illuminating to hear Les Miles come out and actually say it.
Speaking at his first Big 12 media days as Kansas’ head coach, Miles said a 1-game suspension for star running back Pooka Williams was appropriate. To his credit, Miles addressed the situation off the top, explaining his rationale in the first portion of his opening preamble.
“There is no proper way to put it: there is no violence. Violence will not be accepted with women, period,” Miles said.
He then went on to accept Williams’ act of violence against a woman, in this case his girlfriend, whom in December 2018 Williams allegedly grabbed by the throat and punched in the stomach. We have to say allegedly there because the case never went to trial and thus was never proven by a court of law, but Williams admitted to it and apologized in a statement that was released along with his reinstatement to the Jayhawks football team earlier this month. “My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices,” Williams said at the time.
Despite saying violence against women will not be accepted, “period,” Miles went on to accept it.
“Action was taken immediately,” Miles continued. “We felt like a strong point was made, not only with Pooka but with the team, the idea that for seven and a half months Pooka was going through a process and he didn’t have the opportunity to spend time with his team, go to the weight room, just be a part. Pooka went through a legal investigation with the legal community, Pooka also had a proceedings that went through the conduct board at the university and he basically understood very much that if he did not meet the criteria that the board asks, this would not last long, and he really met every criteria that he could.”
The seven and a half months Williams missed covered winter conditioning, spring practice and the first half of summer conditioning — also known as the things football players endure to get to the what they actually want to do: play real football games. And Williams will be there for those — 11 of the 12, or, if KU somehow makes a bowl game, 12 of the 13.
“He’s taken responsibility, he’s been remorseful. He’s learned from this experience, as has our team.”
This goes without saying. Anyone should take responsibility and be remorseful when they strike a woman. What’s the standard for a KU football player?
“We’re thankful to have him back.”
This also goes without saying. Williams rushed for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns on 161 carries as a freshman in 2018. He was a First Team All-Big 12 running back and returner, making him the first Jayhawk to garner a spot on the First Team All-Big 12 offense since 2009.
“And, again, no violence against a woman is okay.”