The playing status of Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain for the 2012 season was in jeopardy after his conviction May 17 on charges of assault, reckless endangerment, menacing and wrongful discharge of a firearm in city limits by a Decatur (Ala.) Municipal Court judge.
McClain, right, the former Butkus Award winner from Alabama, reportedly was ordered by judge Bill Cook to spend 180 days in jail — 45 days for each charge — and begin serving his sentence June 1. If McClain were to start on time and serve out his sentence it reportedly would prevent the three-year veteran from playing in the 2012 season.
Following the trial, McClain’s lawyer told reporters his client planned to appeal the ruling. A Circuit Court appeal would include a jury trial.
Harvey Steinberg, the attorney for McClain, told the Huntsville (Ala.) Times the verdict was ``meaningless’’ and said, ``We get a jury trial. Most lawyers say let’s stipulate and start all over. I wanted to put this on so we could show how ridiculous this entire situation is. It truly is. There is no basis for it.’’
The Raiders said in a May 17 statement: "The Raiders are well aware of the proceedings in the Alabama courts today. The team will continue to closely monitor the legal process, understanding that when appropriate the NFL will review the situation under its personal conduct policy."
The conviction stems from an incident Nov. 30, 2011 with the victim, Rishard Tapscott, the victim of an alleged assault. Tapscott said McClain threatened to kill him and put a gun next to his ear and fired it. McClain reportedly was in Alabama at the time attending the funeral of a relative.
Earlier in the day, Jaradious Williams, the co-defendant along with McClain in the case, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault charges and testified against McClain. Williams faces 90 days in jail and approximately $300 in fines.
Tapscott reportedly has also hired an attorney and is seeking unspecified damages in a civil suit against McClain and Williams.
Speaking to Bay Area reporters on May 22 during a Raiders organized team activity, McClain said: "I’m aware of the bad publicity that I’ve given the Raiders. I talked with coach (Dennis) Allen. I have the support of the Raiders, my teammates as well as the coaching staff. I apologize for the bad publicity that’s been put out there.
"I can’t really talk much about it but it will be resolved in the near future.’’
The Decatur Daily reported a jury trial wouldn’t take place until six to nine months after McClain’s arraignment, which has yet to be set.
McClain could face discipline from the NFL and the Raiders for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
Until his arraingment, McClain is free to play football pending his appeal to a circuit court.
"Rolando’s part of our family, he’s part of our team,’’ Raiders coach Dennus Allen said on May 22. "We’re going to let the whole process play out before we do anything and once the whole legal proceedings are finished then we’ll determine what if any action we need to take.’’