Sinclair placed on administrative leave
The banner is plain to see for anyone that walks by the Illinois practice field next to Memorial Stadium.
And it's in all capital letters on the sixth page of the Illini manual coach Tim Beckman hands out to his team.
"The image of one projects the image of all."
The image of former Illinois linebacker and current assistant director of player personnel and alumni relations Matt Sinclair allegedly pointing an unloaded gun out of a truck on Saturday afternoon on Interstate 74, according to a police report, is not the one Beckman wants for his football program.
The Illinois athletic department placed Sinclair on administrative leave Tuesday further notice, the university announced today.
Sinclair has been charged with three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for possessing an unloaded, uncased gun accessible to ammunition, that he did not have a valid concealed carry permit and that he used the gun in the commission of a misdemeanor.
Those charges are Class 4 felonies punishable by one to three years in prison.
Sinclair started in his current role with the Illinois football team in mid-April after he played at Illinois from 2001 to 2004.
The 31-year-old helps with on-campus recruiting efforts, along with coordinating events with high school coaches throughout the state.
"Coach Beckman, to his credit, knows how important it is having former players back around and being familiar with the program," Sinclair said in mid-August during an interview after an Illinois practice at Camp Rantoul. "My role is basically to reach out to guys and make them feel comfortable and involved. If we're not the biggest ambassadors of the program, who will be?"