Ma’lik Richmond Loses YSU Eligibility over Rape Case

Ma'lik Richmond Loses YSU Eligibility over Rape Case

Jayden Record, Sophomore Staff Writer

How long must someone suffer the penalties of his/her actions after the event?  How many students realize that all or any of their actions could have consequences that could haunt them for years to come? These are some of the questions that anyone should ask him/herself when considering the case of Steubenville football athlete Ma’lik Richmond.

“I don’t think losing eligibility to play is fair to Richmond because he’s already faced his consequences. He should be able to play now because every teenager makes mistakes that they regret at some point in their lives,” says HHS sophomore Anthony Romo. And for his actions, which involve rape of a 16 year old, Ma’lik Richmond served just under 10 of his 12-month sentence in juvenile detention. Was that enough? Was the punishment appropriate for the crime committed?  Many say no; some say yes, and others aren’t quite sure.

This local college football walk on made national headlines last month. According to online sources, Richmond, defensive tackle at YSU, and former high school teammate, Trent Mays, were involved in a rape case that took place in Steubenville, Ohio on the night of August 11, 2012.  The two 16-year olds were attending a party together. When another 16-year-old female got drunk and passed out, Richmond and several other males repeatedly assaulted her. She hardly remembered anything when she woke up, but pictures and texts on social media certainly provided pretty graphic evidence. According to sources, “the story generated national outrage after the case proved to be fiercely divisive in the football-centric town, and as social media took on a larger role in the case with the release of explicit texts and Instagram photos.”  Thousands protested the police’s method of handling the case.  However, both football players were found guilty of sexual assault and charged seven months later.

Richmond was released a few months before his senior year of high school where he rejoined the football team and played in his final season. After high-school, Richmond went on to attend Potomac State College of West Virginia University and California University of Pennsylvania before transferring to YSU in the fall of 2016. This past January, he joined the YSU team as a walk on, and that action quickly grabbed the attention of Katelyn Davis, a fellow student at YSU. She started a petition and within a day had collected 6,000 signatures to show President Jim Tressel and head coach Bo Pelini. Students wanted Richmond off the team, but not expelled from school.

“I don’t think he should be back on the team. If they have proof that the rape occurred, then I don’t think he should be back because that’s completely wrong,” says sophomore Chanze Kelley.  Sophomore Maddie Morosky also commented on Richmond being able to play, stating,  “If a person does something that bad then no, Football is a privilege.”  In an HHS Honors 11 English class, the group of 27 students were divided not surprisingly, by gender.  More than ⅓ of the boys felt that Richmond should be able to play, but the majority of the girls felt otherwise, stating that “no rapist should be allowed the privilege of playing football and gaining public recognition.”

Richmond won’t be able to play this year, but YSU is letting him stay on the team as a practice player. YSU later released a statement explaining that it doesn’t restrict students from extracurricular activities if they’re in “good standing” with the school.  Perhaps the lesson in this for all high school students is to consider their actions very carefully.  With social media and real time access the way it is today, there is very little wrong that anyone can do which will not instantaneously become public knowledge.