Blame it on the mascot, I guess. Pistol Pete, the rootin' tootin' pistol packin' cowboy of the NMSU Aggies has apparently influenced at least one player on the basketball team. Mike Peake shot and killed a UNM student in Albuquerque who, just weeks earlier, he had been involved in a brawl with at an NMSU/UNM football game. It appears at this point that it was self-defense on Peake's part when he shot and killed Brandon Travis after being set up by people whom Peake described as his friends. They lured Peake into a situation where he was shot by Travis for the beat down that occurred. According to law enforcement, video from the UNM campus shows Travis firing first and Peake returning fire.
The criminal case aside, where does the university stand regarding a student-athlete in possession of a handgun at three o'clock in the morning prior to a college basketball game? Did Peake have the weapon prior to the trip? Did he smuggle it into his luggage? I'm guessing he did since one of the protocols announced following this debacle was that all players would have their luggage searched prior to a road trip.
How long had Peake had the firearm? Where did he get it? WHY did he have it in the first place? Is he licensed to carry concealed?
I noted that a NMSU official discreetly placed blame on a lone New Mexico State police officer who broke up the fight. That official said that the university had no knowledge for several days that any of its students were involved in the brawl until it became public on social media, because the police made no report and did not arrest anyone. Yeah, no shit. You ever waded into the middle of an ongoing brawl involving multiple persons? The officer's job at that point is to maintain some sort of order, which he did by stepping in and telling them to break it up. Most cops carry one pair of handcuffs, some carry two. What was the officer supposed to do, pick a person to handcuff and let that be the end of it? No! There's no way to tell who started the fight, what it was about, or even identify all the participants. Turns out one of those participants, besides Peake and Travis, was a former Aggie basketball player who was canned from the team for assault. The UTEP Miners then took him in as a basketball player. He originally played at Missouri but was kicked off the team before he went to a junior college and then the Aggies picked him up. See how that works? Fuck up at one school and, if you've got talent, another one down the road will pick you up!
Here's what Peake has to say on Facebook about people posting comments on social media who are apparently unsympathetic to his plight:
Just up looking through my social media gang, and I can honestly say some of you "Fans at NMSU" wanted a different outcome of that night. Regardless the situation I made a Horrible decision that night by stepping out at 3 AM in ALL AGGIE GEAR but do you think I would've stepped out if I knew I were to be set up by 4FRIENDS that knew each other very well And I came ALONE. Some of y'all "Opinions" just sound kindergarten fr but it's all good fasho imma come back stronger mentally and physically shorty n stand on my business in every which way # seeyallnextyear.
And here is what he said on Twitter:
I don't see too many of you Aggie Doubters on my timeline rn that's all I was seeing a week ago!!!!! What happened?
Note the obvious: no reference whatsoever to carrying a firearm while representing the NMSU basketball team. I'll give him credit for what he describes as a horrible decision by stepping out at 3 AM, but then he says he wouldn't have done that if he'd known he was being set up. Duh. Apparently you thought something might go down or you wouldn't have armed yourself! Peake, I'm going to clue you in on a fact of life: what you are failing to grasp is that the people who pay the taxes that support the university that is giving you a free ride may just happen to possess an entirely different set of values than you. Get it?
I see a civil lawsuit coming from the Travis family for the death of their son. Statements and evidence indicate Travis intended to harm Peake, and Peake is a victim, but again, why is a college athlete in possession of a firearm in the first place? I suspect that an attorney representing NMSU is going to, if it hasn't already been done, tell Peake to stop posting to social media and do not talk to the press.
I was young once. I know that hormones get to raging and the machismo comes out. But drinking and fist fighting is one thing, arming yourself with a gun and killing someone is another.
The direction that NMSU takes on this will be an indication of the message they want to send out to any prospective athletes it recruits in the future, in addition to what it wants students, and parents of students, to believe about its institution. Either the number of W's in the won-loss column is the priority, or ethics, values, code of conduct and integrity are the priority.