Oklahoma State football has waded through murky waters the last few years as it tried to distance itself from Gannon Mendez, who was accused of providing impermissible benefits to football players, including now Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon. His gifts ranged from $5 drinks at bars to meals and golf course outings, and the athletic department self-reported these and a number of other violations. They also banned him from having any further contact with the school, and he refused to cooperate with the internal investigation.
Say what you will about wining and dining prospects and players and its impact on the sanctity, however little, of college athletics on the whole. But it’s difficult to defend Mendez in particular, because reports surfaced today that he was arrested for allegedly beating his nine-year-old son. He’s an Oklahoma Sooners fan, and not an Oklahoma State Cowboys fan, a detail which he spilled to a classmate. Once Mendez found out, he apparently beat him with a wooden paddle. And this wasn’t even the first time Mendez physically assaulted his son, reports KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City:
“Prosecutors claim Mendez would repeatedly take the boy to a football field and make him run until he puked.
An affidavit details in addition to being routinely spanked with a paddle, the suspect chopped up soap and pushed it into the victim’s mouth.
The victim also reported Mendez squeezes his nose until it bleeds, tells him he will end up in hell and would wake him up every 30 minutes through the night to do push ups.”
Mendez faces one count of child abuse and had his first official court appearance today.