COLUMBIA — On Monday afternoon, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel spoke publicly about tailback Derrick Washington's legal situation and the program's other recent disciplinary issues in a press conference.
Pinkel spoke to the media about an hour and a half after Washington turned himself into police at 2:08 p.m. Washington was charged on Monday morning with deviate sexual assault, a class C felony.
"It's a very, very serious matter," Pinkel said. "It's a serious subject. And we're going to let the process take its course."
Pinkel confirmed that Washington is suspended indefinitely in accordance with MU Athletics Department policy, which states that a student-athlete charged with a felony cannot compete until the charges are resolved.
Pinkel also spoke more generally about the other discipline problems that the program has faced in August. Within the last week, both linebacker Will Ebner and tight end Beau Brinkley were arrested on suspicion of DWI.
"We've, I think, done a good job in building a reputation for running a first-class program, a disciplined program, so I'm embarrassed," Pinkel said. "I'm embarrassed that we've taken a few of these hits. We built the program on the discipline that we have."
Team spokesman Chad Moller said that the team will handle consequences for Ebner and Brinkley internally, and Pinkel discussed the disciplinary system that he has had in place since he arrived at Missouri.
"We have a process where we train kids about alcohol, about assault," he said. "We don't just every once in a while bring it up."
He added that he has constructed a clear set of consequences within the disciplinary system and that he feels responsible not only for the two DWIs, but also for Washington's offense.
"I'm responsible for everything that happens with all 126 football players and my staff … just like a parent," Pinkel said. "You know, parents are responsible for their kids, no matter what they do or what they get involved with. It starts with me, No. 1, and I take that responsibility."
Pinkel said he expects his team to overcome the recent problems.
"We're going to continue to do what we do, and I expect it to clean up," he said. "We have to earn that back. We have to earn respect back, and that's the way it should be."