By Nicholas Stix
In 1995, Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, who had helped the Cornhuskers win two national championships in three seasons on the team, was considered the most talented player eligible for the NFL draft, yet he only went sixth, to the St. Louis Rams. Five other teams passed on him, including the Baltimore Ravens, who needed a running back, because they anticipated that Phillips, who was tough and explosive on the field, would be done in by his off-field explosiveness.
Phillips already had a substantial history of violent crime, including choking (hmmm; among other unkindnesses he inflicted on her) his white Nebraska girlfriend, Kate McEwen, almost to death. My vague language is because so much of Phillips’ violence was covered up by the authorities. He’d commit a violent felony, and get “pre-trial diversion.” When he violated that program, trial dates would be postponed, so he could play in college national championship games. And so on.
In the NFL, Phillips’ performance was underwhelming, as was his attitude, so no one killed himself, trying to keep him on a team.
Phillips later tried to murder three young men by running them down, but only got a total of seven years for that. However, he got sentenced to a consecutive term of 25 years in prison for beating up and choking another girlfriend (not McEwen, apparently). Prior to his present difficulties, Phillips was not to be eligible for parole until 2032. Now, he could get real time.
Last year, Phillips wrote touching letters about the reality of prison life.
Note that while white policemen have been getting immediately arrested and/or indicted for murdering black men who attacked them, Phillips was not charged with murder until over four months after his Kern Valley State Prison (California) cellmate, Damion Seward, 37, was found strangled on April 11. The medical examiner ruled within the week that the death was a “homicide.” Seward was himself in prison for murdering someone.
Once upon a time, coaches understood that no matter how talented a young man was, he couldn’t be used as a player, if he was a psychopath. Clearly, that understanding has long since gone by the boards.
Ex-NFL running back Phillips charged with killing cellmate
September 2, 2015 (App. 10 hours ago)
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) -- Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a Central California prison.
Phillips is suspected of killing 37-year-old Damion Soward at Kern Valley State Prison in April. Officials determined Soward was strangled.
The Kern County district attorney's office says the 40-year-old Phillips faces a first-degree murder charge.
Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during a three-year NFL career.
Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years. He was convicted of choking his girlfriend and later of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game.
KBAK-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1hy0OZG) Phillips was ordered back to court Sept. 15.
Information from: KBAK-TV, http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/