Miami reinstates Amstrong after probe
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)
Miami safety Ray-Ray Armstrong has resumed taking part in team activities with the Hurricanes, though his status for the final two games of the regular season remains somewhat unclear.
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Armstrong did not travel with Miami to last Saturday's game at Florida State while the school investigates his relationship with the owner of a public-relations firm that works with professional athletes. Asked if the school feels comfortable a violation was not committed, Miami coach Al Golden said, ''correct,'' then cautioned that athletic director Shawn Eichorst may still weigh in on the matter.
''The A.D. is going to have the final say, but he's allowed to return to team activities until we hear otherwise,'' Golden said.
Players are typically not available for comment on Monday. Armstrong, who has 25 tackles in five games this year, is not listed on the depth chart for Saturday's game against South Florida.
Armstrong - who was suspended for the season's first four games after another investigation found he accepted extra benefits from former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro - found himself under scrutiny again after a dinner at a Miami Beach steakhouse on Nov. 6.
He went to dinner that night with Arielle Washington, who is the owner and president of a firm called Double Coverage PR. Armstrong and Washington both posted details about the meal to their respective Twitter accounts, and that raised questions about why the Miami player would be involved with someone who works with professional athletes.
Washington's father, Herb Washington, told The Associated Press last week that the relationship between his daughter and Armstrong is not professional in nature. Arielle Washington was interviewed by Miami compliance officers last week.
Still, Golden was frustrated that Armstrong found himself in trouble again, especially after how damaging the Shapiro matter was - and is - to the program.
''How can you do that? There's a fine balance there between being an educator and having zero tolerance,'' Golden said. ''At some point, it's going to be, `Hey, these decisions are irrevocable.' I don't think we're at that point yet. Obviously Ray comes from a great family. They're disappointed as we're disappointed.''
This latest matter is one of many issues Golden has dealt with this season, starting with the news in August that 13 players were linked to Shapiro, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence. Of those 13, eight players were suspended for at least one game, four others had to make restitution in amounts of less than $100, and another was exonerated completely.
Another Miami player was suspended after he punched a North Carolina player in the groin last month.
''Why are we dealing with that?'' Golden asked Monday. ''We've already had a lot of distractions and we're still dealing with it, which means it's still in there. I'm just being honest with you guys. It's still in there and we're going to work to get it out of the system. We're going to fight like heck to get it out.''