Mississippi State receives negative publicity after two basketball players duke-it-out

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  After bagging 19 points in Mississippi State's 69-52 win over San Diego Thursday night, Sidney was in the stands with his Bulldog teammates getting ready to watch the Hawaii-Utah game, at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

Sidney and junior forward Elgin Bailey got into an altercation about 10 minutes before the game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Punches were delivered in a fight that lasted several minutes.

Sidney was taken away by arena ushers and Honolulu Police, but he was not arrested.

On Friday Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin suspended Sidney and Bailey indefinitely and sent the players back home from Hawaii.

MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin sent out a tweet on Friday which said, "The actions that took place in Hawaii were embarrassing."

Stricklin said the length of their suspensions would be determined by future behavior.

It's another notch against Sidney.  Last March the NCAA ruled that Sidney had to repay $11,800 in improper benefits and sit out the remainder of the 2010 season and nine more games this season.

Earlier this week Sidney was suspended for one game for what coach Rick Stansbury called team violations.  He didn't give details on the issue.

Sidney returned Thursday and played extremely well but his behavior off the court has cast a cloud over the young men who has plenty of talent.  In two games Sidney netted 31 points. Bailey is averaging 6.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Stansbury has a tough decision to make.  In just one week Sidney accumulated two strikes, not good for someone who was given another chance to contribute on the basketball court.  Mississippi State fought to have the young man declared eligible by the NCAA and it's his turn to prove the Bulldogs made the right decision by getting in his corner.

Besides giving teammate Elgin Bailey a black eye, Sidney has delivered a black eye to the Mississippi State faithful.  On Christmas Eve Mississippi State received nothing but bad pub on national television, on local sportscast throughout the nation and again on web pages and newspapers across America on Christmas day.

Another question, does Mississippi State basketball players have warm ups?  Most teams will wear team color sports outfits when representing their respective schools in public places. Sidney wore a gray tee shirt and Bailey was decked out in an undershirt before the two exchanged punches in the stands.

Sidney was expected to give the Bulldogs a lift, making them a better team.  So far, Sidney has left a negative influence on the Bulldogs basketball team and just maybe Mississippi State would be better off without the controversial player on the roster.

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