[Story updated 7/3/15 1:10 p.m. ]
The short version:
On Monday, June 22, 2015, After police reportedly reviewed video of the incident, Sean “Diddy” Combs was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats, and one count of battery for confrontation(s) with UCLA football staff, particularly UCLA Strength Coach, Sal Alosi.
Diddy is scheduled for trial at 8:30 a.m., on July 13.
Diddy hires big time Hollywood power attorney Mark Geragos.
Possible smear campaign of unsubstantiated rumors and unknown origins against Sal Alosi begins in the media.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced they were declining to pursue a case against Diddy.
It is now up to the Los Angeles City Attorney to decide to file charges.
We were leisurely enjoying our break before gearing up the site for the fall football season when this story broke. It was too big for even us to stay silent on it.
We received some requests for what’s going on, as well as our opinions, so here it is.
This information has been pieced together from all available news sources, as well as our own. It is a composite of reports from trustworthy news sources (many of which conflict with each other). We are finding a lot of mis-information so this story will be updated as new, accurate information becomes available.
Justin Combs (we’ll refer to him as Combs) is a 20 year old UCLA defensive back, and son of performer, record mogul, entrepreneur, and mega-wealthy Sean “Diddy” Combs (we’ll refer to him as Diddy), also known as P. Diddy, and Puff Daddy.
Originally offered a scholarship by former Bruin Coach, Rick Neuheisel, Combs is now a redshirt junior. Neuheisel was fired after Combs committed to UCLA, but before signing day. Coach Mora took over the program and did the decent thing by honoring the scholarship. At the time, Combs was considered undersized, had only a handful of scholarship offers, and was probably not a UCLA caliber player. Neuheisel has stated that he looks at everything that a recruit brings to the program, not just the measurables. With Combs, he saw a recruit that was popular with other recruits, seemed like a good person, and would bring a father that could help the program in many ways. That was soon born out, with the following year’s recruits. UCLA quarterback Asianti Woulard (who has since left the program), had a memorable official visit where he was entertained by the 45 year old Diddy and his celebrity friends at Lucky Strikes Bowling in Hollywood. That evening went over well, and he committed shortly thereafter.
Over the next three years, Combs redshirted his first year, and played sparingly since, appearing in only seven games as a backup cornerback and special teams player.
Fast forward to now.
The summer strength and conditioning workouts have begun, and S&C Coach Sal Alosi runs them. Alosi is considered a masterful coach in his area, but has had one incident in his past that continues to haunt him today. After nine years of coaching, in 2010, Alosi, the strength coach of the New York Jets, stuck out his knee and tripped a Miami Dolphin player returning a punt during a game. Alosi was fined, suspended, and then resigned from the Jets organization.
In 2012, Coach Mora helped resurrect Alosi’s reputation by hiring him to be the S&C coach for the UCLA football team. By all accounts, Alosi is a no nonsense disciplinarian. At the same time, he seems to be well respected by his players who often credit him for their development and the team’s improvement. That can be seen by a support letter written to Bruin Report Online by former player, Todd Golper HERE.
@Coach_Alosi is one of the best coaches I ever had. Makes me sad to hear people slash his name and integrity. Heck of a guy and coach.
— Xavier Su'a-Filo (@bigxmanee) June 25, 2015
— Datone Jones (@IAM_Dat_One) June 24, 2015
— Anthony Barr (@itheeayb) June 27, 2015
On Monday, June 22, Alosi was running the team’s early morning workouts. Reports are that Combs had been missing them and claimed to be working out with his father’s personal trainer instead. While they are voluntary, coaches and teammates expect everyone to participate as part of a team activity. Not showing up may indicate a lack of commitment to teammates and coaches.
There are multiple conflicting reports as to what happened at that workout. There are also conflicting reports about whether or not Diddy was there to witness the following events, or if Combs told his father about them shortly after they happened.
Either way, it is believe to have gone something like this:
Combs did show up to this practice, and was evidently the first player in one of the warm up drills. Reports are that he did the drill wrong, and Alosi was impatient, and probably attributed the sloppy performance to Combs’ lack of regular attendance. According to RadarOnline, a player who witnessed the situation said that Alosi yelled, “you’re never in the front of the line, go to the back of the line.”
The player said, “Justin was shaking his head saying ‘You’re tripping and over-reacting,’ and that made the coach mad.”
Then Alosi said to Combs, “You’re done for the rest of the season, go work out with your dad’s personal trainer!” the source claimed.
“This isn’t the first time the coach has done this,” the player said. “He’s a good coach. He probably would have let Justin come back today if his dad hadn’t come down here. Justin isn’t the first person to get thrown out of practice.”
There is speculation that Diddy is a football helicopter parent. Someone who may think their child is more gifted than they really are, and expects the coaches to also acknowledge it. Diddy frequently attended practices, and after three years may be under the impression that his son should be more of a centerpiece of the program. We have never met Diddy, but we suspect the man has a significant ego, and is used to getting his way.
This was an interesting comment made by Jill Painter Lopez of Fox Sports:
“His father, Sean Combs, did what he wanted at UCLA and often would watch his son practice with closer access than people with handicap placards. He would park his luxury cars just outside of the gate to the football field, where there are no parking spaces, just walkways reserved for emergency vehicles and delivery trucks. A place where you or I would get towed. A few hundred yards away sits a parking structure for $12 a day.
It’s one small example of how Sean Combs did what he wanted, and he was not told otherwise. If he was, he continued to park there anyway. Parking officials should’ve ticketed him daily, but Diddy isn’t used to being held to the standards of people who make far less zeroes in their paychecks. He’s apparently not used to coaches yelling at his son and throwing him out of practice, either.
Happens all the time in high school, college and NFL practices across the country. Yet, somehow, the son of Sean Combs wasn’t supposed to accept being treated like everyone else.”
The article can be read HERE.
There is also another article regarding Diddy and helicopter parents from the New York Post, titled “Diddy is the Ultimate Coddling Helicopter Parent”:
“In another era, a son would have been humiliated to find his father showing up at college, let alone berating and attacking his coach. But today, these kids seem to be hoping that their parents will come to work and demand promotions for them.”
One of the writers here really related to that first sentence. In fact, all of us would have been horrified to have our fathers show up on campus for the purpose of hammering our high school or college coaches. It would have meant we were not mature enough (man enough?) to take care of our own business.
The article can be read HERE.
And an aside, we keep hearing from fans that Diddy owns a Rose Bowl suite and is a major donor to UCLA. We have asked around and have received no evidence of either. In spite of his money and his son, we have not heard that he has become a major financial interest of UCLA. UPDATE: One of our BruinAuthority guys has connections within the Rose Bowl. He asked his Rose Bowl representative if Diddy had any seats in the pavilion, and was told no. There are people who do have high-end premium seats and they have let him use them in the past was the reply.
About 11:30 a.m., Diddy and his son Combs, came to Coach Alosi’s office in the Acosta Athletic Center, across from Pauley Pavilion. It is unclear as to the actual reason for the visit. Was it to restore Combs’ access to workouts, or because Diddy thought his son was being disrespected? Reports indicate that Combs first entered the office, while Alosi was on his cell phone. When Alosi asked Combs to wait a minute while he finished the call, Diddy lost his temper and moved into the office, and up close to Alosi. Reports are that Diddy was loud and using foul language.
Alosi asked an intern in the area to call campus security (although there are reports that the intern did so on his own), which caused Diddy to escalate the situation. There are many conflicting reports from credible sources as to what happened next. Reports are that Diddy approached Alosi and Alosi put his hands up in a non-offensive position. and Diddy moved into Alosi’s hands and accused him of putting his hands on Diddy. Other reports indicate that Diddy just lost it when Alosi didn’t immediately hang up the phone when they arrived. It is possible that Diddy took a swing at Alosi at this time, possibly ripping his shirt in the process.
Hearing the commotion, other staff members rushed in and pulled Diddy out of the office and into the weight room. Upon letting him go, it is believed that an outraged Diddy picked up a weight known as a kettlebell and swung it at the staff surrounding him. He evidently did not hit anyone with this weapon.
The campus police soon arrived. The UCLA staff did not want to press charges, however, the building is monitored with cameras. The police insisted on seeing the video before making a decision as to what to do. Upon reviewing the video, the police placed Diddy under arrest and handcuffed him around 12:30 p.m. Reports are that Combs was quite upset at the point when the handcuffs were put on his father.
Diddy remained in the campus jail until 6:35 p.m. when campus police took Diddy to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Reception Center. After booking he was held in the Los Angeles County Jail and released at 11:02 p.m. after posting bail of $50,000. Since Diddy’s estimated worth is about $735 million, we suspect bail was not a problem.
Police car carrying Sean Combs just left UCLA police station. He was arrested on campus for assault pic.twitter.com/l5gxZOUx9d
— Amy Powell (@ABC7Amy) June 23, 2015
Diddy’s camp is claiming that he is the victim and was merely defending himself and his son from members of the UCLA coaching staff.
His representative Nathalie Moar of Combs Enterprises, said in a statement that “The various accounts of the event and charges that are being reported are wholly inaccurate…What we can say now is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son.”
We are also wondering if the Diddy PR spin machine is already beginning with anonymous accusations of Alosi waging psychological warfare on Combs, as suggested HERE. Their defense may be an offensive media attack to destroy Alosi’s reputation. UPDATE: Now there are mysterious allegations that the Diddy PR camp is hunting down people from Alosi’s past, including a female chiropractor that evidently did not get along with Alosi while he was with the New York Jets. This could be the beginning of a full court press character assassination.
Call us skeptical about this position, but there is video, and perhaps a significant amount of video by the building cameras and cell phones. And his arrest came after police viewed some of the video. It is possible that this statement was made before Diddy’s representatives knew the building was under surveillance. We would not be surprised to see a site like TMZ produce cell phone video of the incident any moment as well.
And on Tueday, a day after the incident, Justin Combs posted on Instagram the following:
Much has been made about this Instagram post, including speculation if this would further alienate Combs from the coaches and teammates. We tend to think the timing was ill advised.
Jill Painter Lopez of Fox Sports had this to say about it (read the full story HERE):
“Supporting his father, who allegedly attacked the team’s strength and conditioning coach, is indefensible. There is now a remarkable divide between Justin Combs and his UCLA football family. Combs chose the side of his father instead of his teammates. In most situations, family support is necessary. Not in this instance.
Diddy’s actions cannot be defended. Not even by his son.
Justin Combs is in an awkward spot to be sure. His 45-year-old father, who gives new meaning to the term ‘helicopter parent,’ made that so.”
Coach Mora issued the following statement:
“I’m thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation. This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved. While UCPD continues to review this matter, we will let the legal process run its course and refrain from further comment at this time.”
One development worth watching is the recruitment of Oluwole Betiku, a top defensive end from Gardena Serra High School. His legal guardian is former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington. Betiku is one of UCLA’s top targets and Arrington has a certain amount of influence on Betiku. Arrington gave an interview to TMZ after hearing about the Diddy incident and clearly felt that coaches should not yell or berate players. We will be watching this.
TMZ reported that Alosi returned to practice Tuesday morning, which indicates UCLA believes he was not responsible for any of the incidents the prior day. This was something we were particularly watching. The UCLA administration is particularly sensitive to bad press, and we were wondering if they would suspend Alosi as a precautionary PR measure to “show they take it seriously.” They didn’t do that which we applaud.
We are hearing the highest levels of UCLA administration (including the Chancellor) are discussing this situation and how to handle it. We believe that Justin truly loved his time at UCLA, but it is hard to imagine that he can continue after this incident. He was already under a microscope because of his father, and now the campus would turn into a circus should he remain on the team. In a way, he may be the one who will pay the highest price when this is done. By all accounts, he has worked hard to be his own person, not just the son of a celebrity. He practices hard (historically), and he works hard in school and made the winter honor roll. He is very close to getting his degree. The memories of his college years and glory days would have made him proud, and brought him smiles for the rest of his life. Now, those memories will likely be reduced to this incident and his father’s arrest.
Diddy has a reputation for having a temper, and there is a criminal history of aggressive behavior. This case will not improve that reputation. While we don’t know what the district attorney will do, we suspect that a combination of UCLA wanting to drop it, Diddy’s “Dream Team” of lawyers, and the taxpayer cost of prosecuting a man with almost infinite funds, will cause this to either be pleaded down, or maybe even be dropped altogether.
Diddy is scheduled for trial at 8:30 a.m., on July 13.