Is YSU's Tailgate Protest Fair?
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Politics and Activism

Is YSU's Tailgate Protest Fair?

Does this protest go against human rights?

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Is YSU's Tailgate Protest Fair?
Scolin's Sports Venues

If you live near the Youngstown area I’m sure you’ve heard of, or have been invited to, the tailgate protest against Ma’lik Richmond. Why does that name sound familiar? Why is there a protest against him? Ma’lik Richmond was one of two Steubenville high school boys who raped an unconscious, 16yr old high school girl at a party in 2012. In 2013, Ma’lik was convicted and spent less than a year in a juvenile detention center. He is now 20yrs old and has become not only a student, but a defensive tackle on Youngstown State University’s football team. So what’s the tailgate protest for? Many students believe that playing football is a privilege; one that he does not deserve.

According to an article featured in the Huffington Post, 11,000 students have signed a Change.org petition in hopes that YSU will kick Ma’lik off the team. The problem with the tailgate protest is that Ma’lik trained and earned that spot on the team. He deserves an education, which no one is really against, and he has served time for what he did. He has even been registered as a sex offender. So, if he has dealt with the consequences, why can’t he have something good in his life? I’m not saying that we should forget what he did or that what he did was okay. I’m simply stating that we are not his judge and jury. Who are we to make decisions that will forever affect his life? He was a stupid, drunk kid. His life is shitty enough with being a sex offender, probably not having many friends or a significant other, disappointed parents and family, and now, all he wants to do is get his life back on track and be a better person, but we are telling him, “fuck no”!

However, I do understand the way it makes YSU look. The press and the average person sees a sex offender playing football, which represents our school, and they probably think to themselves, “wow, if they let a sex offender play football, who knows what else they allow? Ysu must not have many morals”. Here’s the kicker; Ma’lik has been attending YSU as a student this whole time! No one cared. People only now care because the football coach, Bo Pelini, approached Ma’lik and asked him to try out. It’s funny how people seem to only care because it has affected their football entertainment. And besides, Ma’lik can play according to the YSU academic standing policy in regards to extracurricular activities and he isn’t even playing in actual games this fall; he’s only a “practice player”.

I understand both sides of the argument. Being a victim of sexual assault is no laughing matter and it sucks to see a sex offender take part in something that makes them happy, when you suffered because of them. Believe me, I know. But as humans, we must learn forgiveness. Every human being has certain rights and have the capacity to right their wrongs, but they can’t if we never let them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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