On Monday, Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana following his Saturday-night fall at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. On Tuesday, Nkemdiche issued a formal apology for his behavior.
“I’m not surprised,” FOX Sports college football analyst Clay Travis said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s probably necessary to turn the proverbial page, to move forward in the euphemistic phraseology that always seems to confront stories when people get in trouble. I think I told your producer when he reached out, well, he’s going to come out and admit that he smoked pot and was drinking. And four of five hours later, that’s what he did. So you can take him at his word, or you can believe our story. I’m confident in our story.”
That story cited sources saying that Nkemdiche used synthetic marijuana the night he fell – a claim that Nkemdiche denies.
“What we know incontrovertibly happened is that he broke through a double-pane glass window in one area hotel and fled in some form or fashion to a degree that led to a 15-foot fall,” Travis explained. “(He) was picked up by ambulances there, bleeding, needed stitches, and was at the time of his assistance unable to provide his name, address, any kind of identifying information or even interact in a coherent fashion. They admitted him the hospital and he was charged with marijuana possession, I believe, of less than an ounce.”
Travis was told that Nkemdiche used synthetic marijuana.
“It’s used frequently by a lot of athletes and just regular students as well because it typically doesn’t show up on drug tests,” Travis said. “That’s because it’s not necessarily weed-based; it’s more of a chemical-based process. And unlike weed – which, when smoked, typically doesn’t lead to delusions or paranoia or fear necessarily setting in – one of the side effects of this drug can be paranoia. And what I was told was that Nkemdiche was trying to flee from someone who wasn’t actually chasing him when he broke through the window and fled and fell and was admitted to the hospital.”
Nkemdiche, who is expected to forgo his senior season, is considered one of the top prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“Obviously this will be something that he’ll have to explain at the combine,” Travis said. “We’ll see (what happens). Typically teams will take risks when guys have a lot of talent. This guy is a great talent.”
Travis said he would be surprised if Nkemdiche is in action when No. 12 Ole Miss (9-3) faces No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-2) in the Sugar Bowl, but he wouldn’t be shocked.
“Look, it’s SEC football,” Travis said, chuckling. “I am always kind of hesitant to kind of give a verdict on what the discipline is going to be. I don’t think that Ole Miss needs him to win the football game against Oklahoma State. Do I think they would play him if it were in the playoff? I think there’s a lot better chance that he would play then. Hugh Freeze wants to win the Sugar Bowl, but I think he also understands that sending a message is a bigger part of the story.”