The father of former University of Miami safety Ray-Ray Armstrong said even though his son initially lied to UM administrators, the school’s decision to throw him off the team is “unfair to extreme measures.”
In a phone interview late Saturday night, Albert Armstrong revealed the incident that led to UM dismissing his son from the team on Wednesday.
He said that Ray-Ray’s girlfriend, whom he declined to identify by name, owns a public relations firm that reportedly works with professional athletes.
He said his son’s girlfriend was staying at the Loews Hotel on Miami Beach during Memorial Day weekend, and while visiting her there, Ray-Ray took pictures of the hotel room and disseminated them via Instagram.
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UM became aware of it and confronted Armstrong, who initially told the school he wasn’t there with the woman, his father said.
He said his son initially lied because “he felt pressured to be untruthful” and did not want to be suspended again after being suspended twice last year — one a four-game suspension for accepting impermissible benefits from Nevin Shapiro, and the other a one-game suspension for dining at Prime 112 with that same girlfriend, and then tweeting about it.
“She owns a P.R. firm, which is not illegal,” Albert Armstrong said.
“There’s no proof that she is affiliated with any agent. She is not.”
Albert Armstrong said Ray-Ray “told them the truth eventually” about the Loews Hotel incident, “but it was a day late and a dollar short.”
Still, Albert Armstrong said it did not warrant a dismissal from the team.
He said the decision was UM’s, not the NCAA’s, and that his son was “shocked.”
Though the NCAA cleared him for the Prime 112 incident, Albert Armstrong said he did not know if the NCAA would suspend Armstrong for one or multiple games for the Loews incident.
“If it wasn’t for the NCAA being involved with UM [in] the past year, we wouldn’t be talking about Ray-Ray being dismissed,” he said.
“They need a sacrificial lamb to show, ‘We’re putting our foot down.’”
Asked why his son publicized the Loews pictures via Instagram, Armstrong said, “He’s involved with 2012 social media. That’s what kids do.”
Armstrong said that Ray-Ray has been approached by 20 schools and will definitely play college football this fall.
UM declined to comment.