Philip Nelson made the decision to leave the Minnesota Golden Gophers this offseason and transfer to join the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. However, Nelson will never get a chance to take a snap for Rutgers as the school has dismissed him from the football program after an incident that has left one young man in critical condition. While the investigation is still ongoing, it was the right call for Rutgers to cut Nelson loose.
Nelson has been formally charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault for allegedly kicking 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad in the head during a fight in downtown Mankato, Minnesota. After another unidentified man had knocked Kolstad to the ground, surveillance video shows Nelson delivering at least one kick to the left side of Kolstad’s head, leaving the former linebacker at Minnesota State in critical condition with a severe head injury.
While Nelson and his legal team will argue in court that it was not Nelson who delivered the debilitating blow but the other, unidentified man, Rutgers could not afford to stand around and wait to see how the legal proceedings went in this case. Too often, the Scarlet Knights have been in the media for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s a public relations blunder or player abuse from a coach, Rutgers has found themselves with a poor public image.
That makes their decisive action with Nelson in this instance a refreshing change of pace. While Nelson will have his day in court to decide the legal ramifications of his actions, the fact remains that he attacked a man lying on the ground with a kick to the head. That isn’t someone who deserves the opportunity to play college football and Rutgers has come out on the correct side of this issue with Nelson’s dismissal.