Looks the (alleged) exploits of Pom Pom Peter's (alleged) thugs are becoming a national story of disgrace:
Southern California coach Pete Carroll must think so. Never mind that at a lot of places the freshman linebacker would be suspended at this point -- perhaps worse. That's a safe assumption after the 18-year-old allegedly punched a man twice -- unprovoked, police say -- at a Halloween night party.
Rey Maualuga is shown after a win over Washington State on Oct. 29, two days before he landed in legal trouble.
One account said the victim's head hit the side of a house after Maualuga hit him. There was blood. When a woman said she was going to call the police, the Los Angeles Times quoted a witness saying that Maualuga replied: "I own the police." Then he fled into the night.
A few hours and $20,000 in bail money later, Maualuga was free after turning himself in, booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery.
Since then Maualuga has been rewarded with the most playing time of his short career. In Saturday's 35-10 victory over California, he was arguably the best defensive player on the field with six tackles, an interception and a sack.
Which is exactly why the USC linebacker didn't belong there.
By not suspending Maualuga for even one full game, Carroll is sending the message that his players are invincible not only on the field, but everywhere.
By allowing Maualuga to return to play so soon after leaving the police station, Carroll is administering the first real injection of doubt, however slight, into the backbone of the nation's smartest and best-run football program.
According to witnesses, in the early morning hours of a Halloween party, with no apparent motivation, Maualuga walked up and punched his alleged victim twice, knocking him down.
When the victim's companion threatened to call police, Maualuga allegedly shouted, "I own the police" before running away.
In the two weeks since then, it's as if he owns the university.
He has not only escaped any perception of punishment, he has become a star.
It was immediately announced that he was demoted to the scout team, but then he showed up on the field in the second half against Stanford and said he was unaware of any such punishment.