Josh Huff only the most recent Oregon athlete to find legal trouble

Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff rests on the sidelines during the second half of the Ducks's 42-25 victory on September 8th, 2012. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff rests on the sidelines during the second half of the Ducks's 42-25 victory on September 8th, 2012. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Posted by Eddie Paskal on Monday, Jan. 28 at 9:00 am.

Thursday evening, after a long day in court, Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff heard the two words he had been waiting the entire day to hear: “not guilty.”

The starting junior wideout from Houston was facing a charge of DUII stemming from a March 3, 2012 incident that resulted in his arrest; however, a six-person jury did not find substantial proof to indict him, and Huff walked away with his name cleared.

While a jury of his peers rendered Huff innocent, he is just the latest Oregon athlete to find himself in a legal quandary.

In 2010, then-starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was charged with second degree burglary after allegedly stealing two laptops and a guitar from a University of Oregon fraternity house. Masoli ended up pleading guilty before eventually transferring to Ole Miss, where he led the Running Rebels for a season.

Running back LaMichael James, now on the San Francisco 49ers, also found himself in a legal bind in 2010.

James plead guilty to misdemeanor harassment charges and was suspended for the first game of the season after an incident with an ex-girlfriend. James was sentenced to 10 days in jail but never ended up serving time because of overcrowding issues.

And then, of course, there is the case of former Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris. Harris, the incredibly talented cornerback from Fresno, Calif., was eventually dismissed from the Oregon football program after not being able to stay out of trouble off the field.

The trouble started in August of 2011, when Harris and starting quarterback Darron Thomas were pulled over for driving 118 miles per hour on I-5. Video footage of the stop appeared online, and when the officer, who smelled marijuana in the car, asked where the drugs were, Harris responded with his now-infamous line, “We smoked it all.”

Harris’ behavior ended up being too much for Chip Kelly and the Oregon coaching staff to deal with, and following his last transgression, he was sent packing. Harris now has a roster spot on the New York Jets.

While Huff will not serve jail time and — outside of a fine for driving with an invalid license — will not pay any money to the city, his name will now be associated with other Oregon athletes who have had run-ins with the law.

A big issue, outside of Huff and his DUII, is why these athletes keep finding themselves in trouble.

At the end of the day, these athletes are also college students, and all people make mistakes.

However, these athletes must realize that, for better or worse, they will be held to a higher standard, and their actions will be more highly scrutinized than other students at the UO.

The UO athletic department does not have an issue with discipline; by all accounts, former head coach Chip Kelly was quite the disciplinarian and held his players to a high standard.

However, with the Chip Kelly era officially closed, and with Mark Helfrich taking over the reins, it will be important to see how he handles any legal troubles for his players in the future.

The UO has now officially arrived on the national scene. With four consecutive BCS bowl appearances, Oregon is now a premier destination for top-flight recruits.

In order for the program to maintain this success, it is imperative that the student athletes are actually on the field on Saturdays and not suspended, standing on the sidelines.

Oregon has become a national brand; it’s time the players acknowledge their responsibilities and act accordingly. There are more than 100 players on the roster, but the actions of a few can speak louder than that of the majority.

  • SEA member

    “An incident with an ex-girlfriend.” Say it like it is: LaMichael James was arrested for domestic violence.

    Our school has a problem when not even the campus media – which are supposed to be holding powerful officials accountable – refuse to acknowledge that some of our athletes are perpetrators of violence against women. That is rape culture at its finest. These men enjoy a position of power, their “hero status,” that does not hold them accountable for their actions in an equitable way. This privileges them over other students who are deeply affected by the violence.

    LaMichael? Gone pro for the 49ers.
    His ex-girlfriend? Dropped out.

    • Stephen Wallner

      You obviously haven’t read the police report on this incident

    • alex

      rape culture? sorry guy, you’re thinking of the university of washington

    • Baffled

      To assume an athlete’s “hero status” (as you referred to it) leads to rape is a travesty of logic.

    • Alumnus

      You should probably read the police report before you cavalierly refer to this as “domestic violence.”

      • Mediator

        I have just read the police report and while I agree that it perhaps wasn’t extreme enough to be called domestic violence, I agree with SEA Member’s underlying idea that talented sports figures, and other beloved celebrities are all too often quickly forgiven for serious offences. I don’t think this article was necessarily the best starting platform for a discussion of a culture that is a problem at all universities because I doubt the author of the article purposely glossed over LaMichael’s criminal incident since the entire article is about a player that was never found guilty. I think people are getting quite upset over this article for not very good reasons.

  • intrigued

    Seems like the author can’t quite make his mind up here as to whether athletes are college kids and we should remember that, or whether they should be held to a higher standard.

    I wonder what the action would be if an Emerald editor was arrested for DUII and it was made public.

  • alex

    very relevant bringing up 2-3 year old news that’s already been beaten to death. good job.

  • SeanG

    Huff didn’t get himself in legal trouble – BECAUSE HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL. Just because cops arrest you doesn’t mean you are in legal trouble: only when you are convicted of a crime are you in “legal trouble.” That’s why we have trials. If the Emerald wants to buy into the “guilty-til-proven-innocent” mindset, that’s fine, but at least follow the “innocent-when-proven-innocent” rule when someone is actually proven innocent. Huff is in no more “legal trouble” than Isaac Remington was when DUI charges were dropped against him.

  • ItwasRubbish

    The Cliff Harris “we smoked it all” incident was not his final straw. He returned to the team after serving a short 1-game suspension and played in every game in 2011 up until after the Colorado game where he was caught driving without a license which had been revoked when he said he “smoked it all”.

  • Quack Addict

    Your lack of creativity and wish to grab a headline is troubling. I’m sure you knew when you wrote this that there was nothing except a thinly veiled excuse for eyeballs at any price. May I suggest a career at McDonald’s or maybe you could intern on the Jerry Springer show. You are old enough to know better. Start acting like it.

  • josh

    what a bad story….. Daily Emerald sucks!!!

  • Miya


    • Miya

      Where’s the white ppl that got in trouble? Guess you left those out & put all the African Americans in your story to make them seem like horrible guys

  • Lisa Wood

    Held to a higher standard? Really? It appears to me as a “regular” student that the only higher standard associated with these players is the vaunted status they hold as the untouchable elite of the UO campus.