There are two sides of the coin to this Kenny Sanchez story, the first being a head coach of the nation’s best prep football program being arrested this week on a domestic battery charge against his former girlfriend and mother to his son.
The other is the school that employs him, Bishop Gorman, and how it summarily responds to the case and its ultimate conclusion.
The part involving Sanchez will play out in the legal system, and whether he is guilty of such horrible acts or, as his attorney stated Thursday, there is “absolutely no truth to any of the allegations,” is for a judge to decide unless there is some sort of resolution before a scheduled May 30 bench trial.
At this point, we have only heard from one side via a police report, about what Brooke Jade Stewart alleges happened on Christmas Day and the previous week.
Her declaration that Sanchez “came behind me and pulled my hair out of my head, punched me in the eye. As I was going down, he punched me on the side of my face and put his hands around my neck. He held me on the ground and ran to his car and drove away,” is incredibly disturbing.
So, too, is her assertion that on Dec. 17, “Kenneth was angry and punched her in the left eye,” of which she reportedly showed the police a picture of the injury she had taken on her phone.
Sanchez has referred all comments to his attorney, and it’s right, not to mention fair, that the process be allowed to play out through legal channels before assigning definitive judgment.
At this point, a handful of people — perhaps two — really knows what occurred. All too often, careers are ruined and people’s lives are irreparably damaged before the facts of an entire story are known.
But if it’s important to follow the process with Sanchez as a public figure and leader of youth, it’s also imperative we see how Bishop Gorman responds, because when you welcome with open arms the bright lights of ESPN and all the national adulation showered upon your football program, well, it’s just as critical we know what you stand for in much darker times.
Fair or not, and there is evidence on both sides, Bishop Gorman has for a long time been perceived as a win-at-all-costs machine in football, that its priorities are perpetually skewed in the wrong direction.
What does it stand for?
Bishop Gorman’s statement Thursday that the allegations against Sanchez is a pending legal matter and that it is “closely monitoring the situation” was a more expected stance than not for a private school that makes its own rules.
It wasn’t impressive but certainly predictable.
The school suspended Sanchez on Friday pending the outcome of a review, stating in a message to parents and students that “we take any allegations involving our staff very seriously.”
Makes sense. He wasn’t cited for jaywalking, after all. Authorities thought there was enough smoke here to arrest and charge him. Whether or not it evolves into a raging inferno, this is serious stuff.
As several college administrators have told me over the years, there are a few lightning rod issues that are impossible to paint publicly in any manner as trivial: weapons, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Bishop Gorman should use this moment to educate its students about the dangers and transgressions of all such behavior, reminding players that tweeting (as one prominent Gael did Thursday) about not having time to worry about such matters doesn’t paint him or the program in a positive light.
There has for some time been whispers that Sanchez, for various reasons involving campus matters, wasn’t long for continuing as Bishop Gorman’s coach. One scenario had him joining brother Tony’s staff at UNLV if the NCAA passed legislation to allow a 10th assistant, a scenario for which the Rebels were previously on board.
Now, should the allegations prove in any way true, I would assume UNLV (and a new athletic director) might prefer people keep talking about the quarterback situation and soon-to-be-raised football facility than a hire that would be impossible to defend.
The case will proceed, and either a resolution will occur before the scheduled bench trial or a judge will settle things. Until then, we’ve only heard one side, and any definitive judgments about those involved aren’t fair at this point.
But as much as Kenny Sanchez, an eye should be aimed at the school that employs him.
However this plays out, it will become obvious what a lot of folks at Bishop Gorman really stand for.
Contact columnist Ed Graney at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.