Archive for Saturday, August 21, 1999


August 21, 1999


Lester Earl's failure to appear in court on traffic charges bothers Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams.

"I don't like it. I'm upset about it," Williams said Friday, a day after Earl, KU's senior forward from Baton Rouge, La., was arrested on a warrant issued for not taking care of penalties for speeding and driving with a suspended license. A charge for failure to comply was added for missing his court date.

Yet KU's coach, who said he likely will discipline Earl, also realizes the player wasn't apprehended for committing some major crime.

"It's something that happens a lot. It's not something I'm trying to minimize, but it is really not a serious deal. It's not something that hurt somebody else. He didn't do anything to anybody else," Williams said.

"It does upset me because it's Lester -- the fact he understands and I told him he has to act to a higher standard than everyone else. It didn't happen in this case."

Earl who transferred to KU from Louisiana State in 1997, is held to high standards because of his past. He admitted to accepting money from a booster at LSU -- a violation that landed the Tigers on NCAA probation.

Until this year, he'd been driving a Yukon truck in Lawrence given to him by a family friend back in Louisiana. The NCAA deemed nothing wrong with driving the new car, but it added attention to Earl, who now must appear in court on Sept. 8 to take care of his traffic violations and failure to appear charges.

"I said, 'Lester, how can you not appear in court?''' Williams said. "He said, 'Coach I'd like to tell you something different, tell you a great story, but the bottom line is I forgot about it.'

"At some point over the summer his sister is getting married. He's running back and forth from Baton Rouge. He's in summer school. He's rehabbing (left knee) twice a day.

"Do I condone it? The answer is no. I don't like it. Part of the public will want me to pull off one arm and one leg and go from there. I'll do what I think is right."

Williams said he didn't know when he'd institute Earl's punishment, which could very well remain in-house.

"There will be some discipline. There's no doubt in my mind about that," Williams said. "It may not be something the public sees. It may be something the public sees. You have different modes of discipline. You can take somebody out at 6 a.m. for 27 straight mornings.

"You can run them 888 miles, something the public may not see. It's hard to do that with a guy with a bad knee."

Of the possible penalty he added, "This is the United States of America. In some cases the punishment is decided by the jury. In some cases it's decided by a judge who sits there and listens to a case several weeks and takes several weeks to make a decision what punishment is going to be done, if anything.

"Roy Williams is not smarter than every judge in the entire country and I'm not gonna make a decision in less than 24 hours."

Earl will have no comment on the matter.

"If he does (say anything to media) I'm going to kill him. Other than that he's OK," Williams said, forcing a smile.

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is

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