Chances are that you haven’t heard of Ma’Lik Richmond. Richmond wasn’t a high profile football recruit coming out of Steubenville High School. He doesn’t play for a Power-5 or even a mid-major program. In fact, Richmond isn’t even a scholarship player. Richmond is a walk-on player for Bo Pelini’s Youngstown State Penguins.
Richmond was convicted of rape in 2013, sentenced to one year in a juvenile detention center and was released after serving just shy of his full sentence.
Richmond, by all accounts, has rehabilitated himself. The young man returned to his high school and was once again a member of the Steubenville High School football team. Richmond attended two colleges prior to enrolling at Youngstown State; California University of Pennsylvania and Potomac State College. Since being released from the detention center, Richmond has had no additional run-ins with the law that we are aware of. He seems to have genuinely embraced the second chance he was provided and has made the most of it.
But none of this matters to Katelyn Davis. All that matters to Davis and the Change.org petition that she has started is that Richmond was found guilty of rape just over four years ago. To Davis, there is no true rehabilitation. Davis would have us believe that Richmond deserves to wear his scarlet letter for all eternity.
Davis does believe that Richmond is worthy of a second chance for an education but that his second chance should not include being a member of the football team.
“I’m not saying that Richmond should be expelled. He does deserve a second chance at his education,” Davis told WKYC. “I do hope that he is successful in life, but he should not be representing YSU as a football player.”
A person is either given a second chance or they aren’t. This is particularly true in the case of Richmond. His second chance was given when he was allowed back in Steubenville High School which included playing football. Richmond’s third chance was given when he enrolled at California University of Pennsylvania. His fourth chance was provided by Potomac State College. And now he’s at Youngstown State and wants to play football. I see no problem with Bo Pelini giving Richmond the opportunity to play football and it doesn’t matter that he’s a walk-on. My opinion would be the same even if Pelini had Richmond on scholarship.
Davis has no issue with allowing Richmond to attend Youngstown State as a student. But when Pelini allows him on the football team, that’s where she draws the line. Davis considers education to be a right as opposed to playing football, which she considers to be a privilege.
Does he deserve a second chance? Yes, he does, and he is receiving that second chance by furthering his education on YSU’s campus. Does he deserve the privilege of playing on a football team and representing a university? Absolutely not. Education is a right, whereas playing on a sports team is not.
Where in the Bill of Rights is an education included? It’s not. Just as playing football wasn’t mentioned by our Founding Fathers. In her attempt to stand on the moral high ground, Davis does nothing more than lead her emotionally charged mob. And right on cue, Brenda Tracy, the woman in the high castle, provided her support to Davis.
Please continue to share & sign. Convicted rapists do not deserve the privilege of playing college ball. https://t.co/QTgn3ZV7IL
— Brenda Tracy (@brendatracy24) August 9, 2017
When Davis and Tracy attempt to play the morality card, they fall woefully short of making an argument rooted in rationality. This is because they are splitting hairs in order to draw attention to their cause. An education isn’t a right just as playing football isn’t a right. If activists such as Davis and Tracy are accepting of a person like Richmond receiving an education, then they should also be supportive of a person like Richmond playing football. Otherwise their argument is nothing more than a contradiction. And contradictions don’t exist when discussing truth.
Richmond committed a crime and he was found guilty of that crime. After serving his time, he made the most of the multiple chances given to him. The opportunity to return to the football field once again should be included in his successful rehabilitation journey.
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E-mail Seth at seth [dot] merenbloom [at] campuspressbox [dot] com or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.
Photo: Commons Wikimedia