Israel’s U-20 World Cup Team is a bright spot in a world where antisemitism is on the rise

 Or Israelov of Israel celebrates with his teammates after beating Brazil during a FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023 Quarter Finals match between Israel and Brazil at Estadio San Juan in San Juan, Argentina.

The phrase “David and Goliath” gets thrown around too much in sports. There is typically a reason for those mismatches to take place, like in the case of No. 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament needing to defeat a No. 1 to reach the round of 32. According to several Jewish texts, David was the King of Israel for 40 years, while Goliath was a combat-ready giant. If ever there was a sports example that made historical and practical sense, Israel’s under-20 men’s national soccer team taking down Brazil in the U-20 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals, hosted in South America on Sunday, feels like it. With antisemitism on the rise around the world, Israel’s U-20 team is a much-needed feel good story.

This is the country’s first appearance in a World Cup, either at the senior or under-20 level, since 1970, the only other showing for The Blues and Whites.

Israel’s path to the World Cup

Israel qualified for the World Cup by winning their group at the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, eventually falling in the final to England in extra time. The Brits were knocked out at the World Cup by Italy in the Round of 16. Israel’s chances of going on this run looked bleak a little over a week ago, not winning its first two group stage games, needing a 92nd-minute goal to win its final game of Group C against Japan, while playing down to 10 men.

With wins over Uzbekistan and an extra-time victory over Brazil, with the home of Pelé winning 10 previous World Cup titles between the senior and under-20 editions, Israel is guaranteed two more games at this World Cup. Next is a semifinal against Uruguay at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the lone South American team remaining that defeated the United States to make the final four, and then either a third-place game, or 90 minutes to win the whole-damn thing with Italy and South Korea on the other side of the bracket. The games have all been carried under FOX’s sports networks, such as FS2.

An undisputable part of Israel’s run to a grand stage in front of the world is the country’s past and present — where antisemitism and soccer unfortunately collide. Israel was a founding member of the Asian Football Confederation, before being expelled due to antisemitism in 1974. After competing in Oceania for a bit, Israel has found its home with UEFA, the hardest route for a country about the size of Delaware and New Jersey combined to have success on the global soccer stage.

Facing antisemitism off and on the field

Off the field, antisemitism is also on the rise. The Anti-Defamation League, whose mission is to stop the mistreatment of Jewish people and provide equal treatment for all, reports 1.09 billion in the world harbor antisemitic attitudes. That’s around one in every eight people, which is an unfathomable fact. According to the ADL’s global index of antisemitism, which conducted surveys of attitudes towards Jewish people in 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2023, 74 percent of adults in the Middle East and North Africa have displayed antisemitic traits, compared to only 19 percent in North and South America. To think those figures don’t play a role in the daily lives of every member of Israel’s World Cup team is foolish. The Israel-Palestine conflict is ongoing with civilians on both sides sometimes paying the ultimate price.

Israel making it here wasn’t impossible but highly inconceivable. Those who’ve followed this Israel team in particular knew their quality, but its potential becoming reality is much more difficult. The Blues and Whites’ successes brings the country’s name into mainstream audiences in an easy-to-understand way, similar to viral sensation Noa Kirel’s third-place finish in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The comparison of David and Goliath gives even more meaning when you realize Israel’s flag has the Star of David, named after that very David, draped in the center as the most recognizable symbol of Judaism. Israel’s under-20 national team aren’t just David’s anymore after its defeat of Brazil. And that’s exactly why it’s the perfect time to throw support behind them. 

Nepo babies are rife in sports broadcasting

Ian (left) and Noah Eagle

The term “nepo baby” has worked its way into the general zeigeist, as more and more Americans became aware that many high-profile jobs are the result of who, not what, you know. Noah Eagle, son of longtime broadcaster Ian Eagle, recently called his first NFL game — a 28-14 Atlanta Falcons victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 16.

Noah Eagle is only 25 and already being thrust into the spotlight — most likely because of who his dad is. (Unless you think his star shone so brightly at Nickelodeon).

Nepotism may be looked down upon in most workplaces, but it seems like you need to have a famous relative in order to get a sports broadcasting gig. Be it play-by-play or color commentary, in-studio, or on the sidelines, the children of these famous broadcasters likely jumped to the head of the line because of who their dads were.

Here’s a look at how some of the young faces in sports broadcasting got their foot in a door (with some help from Dad and his friends along the way).

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“YES!” Despite being an Emmy Award winner and legend in the biz for his on-air work, Marv may be best remembered for things that happened outside of work. In 1997, he was accused of sexual assault, which led to his firing from NBC. He was also alleged to have a preference for particular undergarments.

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The 54-year-old play-by-play guy can be seen on TV for football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and boxing. In October 2009, Albert called four sports — a regular season NFL game, served as host for the Yankees’ locker room celebration after clinching the ALCS, a New York Rangers game, and the Knicks’ season opener — in four days. He’s reportedly 5-foot-8, so no wonder his broadcast colleagues pictured above tower over him.

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“I don’t believe what I just saw!” The elder Buck had a long, distinguished career calling baseball and football games. A corporal in the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Division who served in WWII, he was awarded a Purple Heart before enrolling and college and getting his broadcasting start by calling games for the Columbus Red Birds, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. He’s also been inducted into multiple Hall of Fames.

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Love him or hate him, Buck has been the voice of several high-profile sporting events through the years. He served as the play-by-play announcer for the World Series from 1996-2001 (minus 1997 and ‘99), called six Super Bowl games, and is currently the lead guy on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast. You may have even seen him during the U.S. Open. I say seen and not heard because you more than likely hit the mute button.

Buck basically admitted he got his job via nepotism (he called his first World Series at age 27) in an interview with Graham Bensinger, saying, “I’m my dad’s kid, and I’m still, right or wrong, fighting that uphill battle, and I’m not saying that makes sense. I mean my dad didn’t hire me at FOX… but it certainly gave me my start, and I think I’m always kind of fighting that.”

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He was the radio voice of the Cincinnati Reds from 1974-2019. That stretch led to him being on the mic for Hank Aaron’s 714th home run (in his debut as Cincy’s play-by-play guy, no less), Pete Rose’s record-breaking hit, Ken Griffey Jr.’s 500th and 600th career long balls, three Fall Classics, several no-hitters and a perfect game. He also had a way with words when it came to describing upcoming schedules — he compared a Reds road trip to the Bataan Death March — and discussing Marshall University’s president. Speaking of using anti-gay language…

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Thom has called pro and college football and basketball, as well as baseball during his career. But he may never put on a headset again after a hot mic caught him uttering an anti-gay slur and his on-air apology being turned into a meme thanks to a drive to deep left field by Nick Castellanos.

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The Ford C. Frick Award winner and National Radio Hall of Famer was so beloved, Will Ferrell impersonated him on Saturday Night Live. (What’s your favorite planet? Mine’s the sun!) Caray’s career stretched from 1945-1997. Holy cow! … Though we probably should mention that he also made some disparaging remarks that were offensive to Asians and Asian Americans.

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“Good night, Skippy!” The son of Harry, Skip was an Atlanta Braves broadcaster from 1976 until his 2008 death. He frequently joked about Youppi!, the Montreal Expos mascot, Mets fans, pro wrestling, “The Wave” and more. When TBS tried to market Braves games to non-market fans, Caray and Pete Van Wieren were pulled from the TV broadcast, much to the ire of fans, local media, and even skipper Bobby Cox.

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Chip was hired to work alongside his grandpa, Harry, in 1998 before taking the mantle of “voice of the Cubs” after the latter’s death. In 2004, Chip announced he would be joining his father, Skip, for Braves coverage. He has been skewered for his errors during his TBS baseball play-by-play work, which included dubbing a Game 7 as “pivotal.”

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Now here’s a guy who sounds just like his pops. His first stint with NBC started while he was still a student at Notre Dame. He is currently the Fighting Irish play-by-play caller while also serving as co-host of Football Night in America. Jac is just 27 and who knows what low-profile school he might be the voice of if it wasn’t for his 17-time Sports Emmy-winning father.

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A University of North Carolina grad, Durham became the voice of the Tar Heels’ football and men’s basketball programs from 1971-2011. He was on the mic for UNC’s 1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009 National Title wins. His childhood friend, Bob Harris, would end up becoming the voice of the rival Duke Blue Devils.

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The radio voice of Georgia Tech’s football and men’s basketball programs from 1995-2010, Durham (far right) was also the school’s director of broadcasting. He’s also the radio voice of the Atlanta Falcons. Good for him, I guess.

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The Bird is the word. This man has been there for everything from college football and basketball, the NFL and the NBA to even tennis, boxing, and track and field. He’s set to take over for Jim Nantz as the lead play-by-play announcer of the NCAA Tournament, starting in 2024. One thing I didn’t know about him… his father, Jack, appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for Xerox.

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Noah Eagle got the job as the radio voice of the L.A. Clippers when he was only 22. And last month, at 25, he called his first NFL action. At that age, I was covering local high school sports in Northern N.J. before the Gannett takeover. My dad helped me get that gig. Sure has paid off…

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Former co-host of Mike and Mike, Golic was ESPN’s resident Notre Dame homer until his 2021 retirement. He had a lackluster NFL career but turned that into a long, distinguished broadcasting tenure. What you might not know about Mike Golic is that in 2015 he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He also didn’t appear on Saved by the Bell like his older brother, Bob.

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The younger Golic is also a Golden Domer. He played alongside Manti Te’o, which I guess is the highlight of his playing career? His famous pops helped him get a gig at ESPN, though Golic Jr. has since left.

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College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese is probably best remembered as the starting QB for the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. He won two Super Bowls with the ‘Phins. During his broadcast career, he called Michigan games featuring his son, Brian, who was the Wolverines’ signal-caller from 1995-97, winning the Rose Bowl and a share of the national title during his final season in Ann Arbor.

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Also a former NFL QB, Brian was also a Super Bowl winner, albeit as John Elway’s backup. After a much less distinguished playing career than his dad, he went on to work for ESPN and was part of the Monday Night Football broadcast for a bit. As for how that went…

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This man is a Braves Hall of Famer. He pitched for the organization for eight of his nine professional campaigns, winning the World Series with the then-Milwaukee-based Braves in 1957. The broadcast booth at Truist Park is named in his honor, after he served as the both team’s radio and TV play-by-by and color commentator between 1962-1999. He also worked alongside the aforementioned Skip Caray during his tenure.

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This man loves his bowties. In 2019, Johnson said he owns 75-80 of them. The NBA on TNT host has also done play-by-play or studio work for the World Cup, the Olympics, college football, MLB, and golf.

Outside of his on-air work, Johnson and his wife, Cheryl, adopted four children, including a son, Michael, from a Romanian orphanage. Michael was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and died at 33. Johnson, who has survived non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer, delivered a heartfelt tribute to his son, stating “there’s value in everybody.”

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Harry Kalas was the play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. He was on air for the first and last games at Veterans Stadium and the inaugural game at Citizens Bank Park. During his iconic career, Kalas called six no-hitters, and three World Series. You may also know the Ford C. Frick winner’s voice from NFL Films productions and Inside the NFL… or the first five Puppy Bowls.

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Todd Kalas (far right) followed in his father’s footsteps and worked alongside his pops for a few years on Phillies’ TV broadcasts. He’s currently the TV play-by-play guy for the Astros, teaming with former MLB journeyman Geoff Blum. The nepotism doesn’t extend to his siblings, however. His brother Kane (far left) is a pro poker player while Brad has had some nondescript acting roles.

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“HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!” Dan Kelly was known as the radio play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Blues, but also worked some NHL TV broadcasts. He was on the call for Bobby Orr’s overtime goal that sealed the 1970 Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins. Outside of hockey, Kelly also called some NFL, NCAA, and MLB games.

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Not a junior, as his father was Patrick Daniel Kelly, Dan P. (right) became the radio voice of the Blues in 1997. He was the first TV play-by-play announcer for the Columbus Blue Jackets until the NHL lockout. After that, he called University of Denver hockey games, Chicago Blackhawks games — until being let go in 2008 — and Chicago Fire (the MLS team, not the NBC show) matches from 2010-19.

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Guess who else joined the Blues’ broadcast booth? John Kelly was there from 1989-92 before joining the Tampa Bay Lightning and later the Colorado Avalanche for play-by-play duties. He also appeared on some regional NHL on Fox broadcasts. As is tradition, his son, Patrick, was given a broadcasting gig, though a much less cushy one — he provided his voice for the indoor soccer team St. Louis Ambush.

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A former Boston Globe sportswriter, McDonough did some on-air work for CBS and NBC in the early 90s. During his time as a journalist, he had the scoop that Bill Parcells was joining the Jets. It just so happened that the legendary coach was one of his good friends and the two shared agents.

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This man has called football and basketball games, golf outings, lacrosse, and Olympic hockey. But notably, Sean McDonough replaced Jack Buck on CBS’s MLB broadcasts. Four years after McDonough — then 30 — became the youngest World Series broadcaster when he called the 1992 Fall Classic with Tim McCarver, Joe Buck would take that distinction. Funny how things work.

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If you’ve watched ESPN over the past several decades, you’ve had to have seen Karl Ravech. He’s been an anchor on Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight, he’s been the lead voice for Little League World Series coverage, and commentated on other sporting events for the Worldwide Leader.

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At 22, Sam Ravech was the youngest ESPN play-by-play broadcaster after he called a Tulane men’s basketball game in 2017. According to his Twitter bio and LinkedIn profile, Ravech is an on-air personality for the Worldwide Leader as well as a broadcaster on the SEC and ACC networks. At 22, I was trying to get my shit together and finish up college. I did work for a broadcast network shortly after, though it was basically getting people coffee. Thanks, dad!

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He may not be a Hall of Famer, but he did win two Super Bowls with the Giants, forever enduring him to the Big Blue faithful. He was a much better player than broadcaster, but he’s got to work alongside Jim Nantz — or as Phil calls him “Jeem” — and may have farted on his colleague.

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Chris was less accomplished than his father, though he certainly has a better resume than his younger brother, Matt. And despite playing quarterback — he’s a tough dude for playing through a ruptured spleen but he was at one point Kyle Orton’s backup in Denver and was released after the team acquired another signal-caller turned broadcaster, Brady Quinn — Chris seems to have a hard time evaluating the position.

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A 1998 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Don Sutton was a four-time All-Star, most remembered for his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won 324 games and pitched to a 3.26 ERA in his 23-year career. In his post-playing days, Sutton did radio and TV work for the Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals.

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Like many other names on this list, Daron got to work with his pops calling games — in this case with the Braves in the late 90s. He didn’t play baseball professionally, but started his broadcast career at CNN before doing play-by-play work for several MLB franchises, as well as the Pac-12 Network.

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Sometimes it’s not about where you end up, but how you get your foot in the door in the first place. Keli McGregor was an NFL tight end and President of the Colorado Rockies from 2001 until his tragic death in 2010.

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Eight years later, at the ripe old age of 25, his daughter, Taylor McGregor, was hired as the sideline reporter for her dad’s team, the Rockies. These days, she works sidelines for the Chicago Cubs games for the Marquee Network and college football Saturdays for ESPN.

Bronny James won’t be USC’s only son of an NBA star

DJ Rodman announced he’s transferring to USC

During halftime of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, there was an infamous moment that occurred on stage as the league was celebrating the players who made the NBA 75 list. Cameras caught LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Steph Curry, Ray Allen, and Dwyane Wade getting together to take a photo — as they represented some of the greatest players of their era. And then Dennis Rodman threw off his commemorative jacket and jumped into the photo, visibly ruffling some feathers.

Well, now James and Rodman will be spending a lot more time together.

Days after Bronny James announced that he was headed to play his college ball at the University of Southern California, DJ Rodman — Dennis’ son — posted on Instagram that he was transferring from Washington State and also headed to USC.

While TV and movie writers are rightfully on strike, a Hollywood script is writing itself inside of Andy Enfield’s program

The Trojans won’t just be the Bronny and DJ show

Besides Bronny James — who more than likely will come off the bench — USC also has freshmen Isaiah Collier and Arrinten Page coming in, who are the No. 1 and No. 38 ranked recruits — respectively — according to ESPN. Boogie Ellis will also be back, as he averaged almost 18 points per game last season. Rodman started in 30 of the 31 games he appeared in last season at Washington State and averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.

USC went 22-11 last year and lost in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament when they were defeated by Michigan State 72-62.

If you’re in Los Angeles during basketball season, USC might be the place to catch a game. You never know whose dad might show up. 

Mike Brown’s team went ‘full Mike Brown’ during the perfect Mike Brown moment

Mike Brown just couldn’t get it done.

In sports, there are some things you can set your watch to. A Tom Brady game-winning drive. An early upset in the NCAA Tournament. A dramatic offseason for Aaron Rodgers. And a playoff letdown from a team coached by Mike Brown. And no matter how it may appear that times have changed, some people/things just are who they are.

Sacramento didn’t have a chance in hell on Sunday in Game Seven against the Golden State Warriors. And it’s not just because Steph Curry had 50 points. It was because their head coach had hit his ceiling.

When the NBA announced that Brown won Coach of the Year — the second of his career — it was a no-brainer. In just his first year on the job, Brown took Sacramento to the postseason for the first time since 2006. When Brown won the award during the 2008-2009 season, it was because he had LeBron James, as the Cavs went 66-16. But then, when James and the Cavs needed Brown the most, he had nothing. That was the year that we were supposed to get Kobe vs. LeBron in the NBA Finals. But thanks to Brown’s inability to draw up anything on offense, the Cavs were upset by the Orlando Magic in six games after James averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8 assists per contest.

“We had one goal and we came up short,” Brown said after that series.

Well, you could say the same for this one.

So close, yet so far

Never forget that the Kings had a 2-0 lead at one point and were being coached by a man that knew the Warriors better than anyone not in that locker, as Brown spent six seasons as an assistant with Golden State. Never forget that the Warriors were without Draymond Green due to suspension in Game 3. Also, don’t forget about Jordan Poole, who was terrible in this series, as he was proof that the Warriors vets were the only ones Steve Kerr could lean on due to Golden State’s “young stars” not being ready to step up in the postseason — Poole averaged 12 points per game and shot a dismal 25.7 percent from deep and 33.8 percent from the field. And then, with the series tied at 2-2, with Sacramento having homecourt for two of the possible last three games, the Kings not only lost Game 7 at home, but they also let the Warriors win two games in their building after Golden State had only won 11 road games all season.

Despite the Warriors being the Warriors and Steph Curry being Steph Curry, on paper, and in reality, the No. 3 Kings had everything in their favor to beat the No. 6 Warriors in this series — but they couldn’t get it done.

This is the other side of the coin when Brown is your head coach.

From his inability to get over the hump with James in Cleveland, to the debacle with the Lakers that led to him being dismissed after only five games in his second season on the job, to being re-hired, and re-fired with the Cavs, to yesterday, you can’t name a single time in his coaching career in which Brown has been able to win the game he needed to. And that’s not to say that this team was a legit title contender or wouldn’t have lost in the second round. But, it was all right there for the Kings to be playing the Lakers on Tuesday night — until it wasn’t.

It would be disrespectful to say Brown isn’t a good coach, given that he has won Coach of the Year, twice. However, it wouldn’t be disrespectful to say he’s not a championship coach, given that he doesn’t have any when he’s in charge. Like players, coaches also have strengths and weaknesses. For years, Brown has proven how good he is defensively, and this season he showed how much he’s grown on the other side of the ball as the Kings had one of the best offensive seasons in league history.

But, when it came down to it, Brown and the Sacramento Kings came up short. No one knows when Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors will bow out in these playoffs. But Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors knew they weren’t bowing out to Mike Brown.

What’s in the water in Tuscaloosa?

Jaykwon Walton won’t be transferring to Alabama anymore

In the months leading up to the NCAA Tournament, the conversation around Alabama’s men’s basketball team was less about how good they were, and more about the drama they were involved in off the court. And while some have forgotten about the tragic death of Jamea Jonae Harris and what her friends and family are still going through, guns are still an issue in Tuscaloosa.

Jaykwon Walton was supposed to be transferring from Wichita State to Alabama, but that’s not in the plans anymore after he was arrested in Tuscaloosa over the weekend for being a passenger in a car that had multiple guns and around 32 grams of weed. Walton told an officer there was a loaded gun under the seat, according to Tuscaloosa PD spokesperson Stephanie Taylor. While the cops went to retrieve the weapon, they noticed a baggie containing about 20 grams of weed. More weed and guns were found in the backseat.

Because of it, Alabama head coach Nate Oats has washed his hands of Walton, who was charged with second-degree possession of marijuana and released after posting a $500 bond, according to

Just last month, the New York Times reported that “A Fourth Alabama Player Was at a Deadly Shooting, in a Car Hit by Bullets.” The school denied it. At that time, Crimson Tide star Brandon Miller needed a security guard due to threats against him. (Miller was not charged with any crimes and has denied any previous knowledge of or involvement in the shooting.) Back in January, Darius Miles was arrested in the shooting death of Harris, while Jaden Bradley and Miller were believed to have been at the scene — as they were all on the Crimson Tide’s roster at the time. (Miles was indicted by a grand jury and faces capital murder charges. Like Miller, Bradley was not charged with any crimes.)

Miller has declared for the NBA Draft and is expected to be the No 3. overall pick. No. 1 Alabama was defeated in the Sweet 16 by No. 5 San Diego State 71-64.