A University of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball star continues to evade criminal charges and school suspension after allegedly providing the firearm used in a wild shooting that killed a 23-year-old mother.
On January 15th, police allege that 20-year-old Brandon Miller was asked to pick up and deliver a gun to a heavily inebriated teammate, Darius Miles, and his friend, Michael Davis, who became irate while outside a Tuscaloosa nightclub. The men were angry that a woman who was leaving with her boyfriend had rejected their advances.
Police and witnesses testified that once Miller brought the weapon, he allegedly used his car to block the vehicle of a man and two women his friends were targeting. When Davis caught up to the victim’s car he began spraying gunfire into it, killing passenger Jamea Jonae Harris.
Miles and Davis have both been charged with capital murder, but Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has so far declined to charge Miller for his role in the homicide.
Marshall and Tuscaloosa Chief Deputy District Attorney Paula Whitley are both UA graduates and fans of the basketball team.
Adding to the controversy, UA administrators have refused to suspend or punish Miller in any way, which some have criticized as a vivid display of the culture of impunity enjoyed by black athletes.
College sports recruiters desperate to win over black talent often deploy questionable strategies, such as getting attractive white women to serve as personal “hostesses” for prospects, to persuade them to attend their school. This has led to numerous cases of rape and assault.
Controversies over Miller’s behavior and brazen violation of several university protocols regarding firearms that put his fellow students at risk have not slowed the star forward’s rise in any way. Miller continues to lead the Crimson Tide to wins, was just named SEC player of the year and is still a highly sought after NBA draft pick.
During home games, Miller enjoys standing ovations. In a video of a recent game, Miller appears to make light of his notoriety by standing in place as a teammate simulates a “patdown” during his on-court introduction as fan cheers reach pandemonium.
UA’s high threshold for the behavior of talented black athletes is not extended to other students. In 2018, the school was criticized by civil liberties groups for expelling a white student, Harley Barber, for uploading a video to her social media page where she used a racial slur. UA is a public university where students enjoy First Amendment protections, but this did not stop administrators from kicking Barber out on legally dubious grounds.
The NCAA, which governs collegiate sports, has not taken any action against Miller or UA either. The oversight body regularly punishes students for their grades or taking bribes, but regularly looks the other way when student-athletes engage in unethical or criminal activity. The NCAA’s board of governors does not hesitate to intervene on political questions, however. The board currently leads an active boycott of states that display the Confederate flag in any capacity.