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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Editorial: It’s too early to commend Mizzou Athletics

Dismissing Green-Beckham was a good choice, but there’s more to be done.

April 16, 2014

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Maneater editorial board.

Last time we wrote to Mizzou Athletics, calling them to be more transparent in disciplining their athletes, we told them the ball was in their court. Mizzou Athletics has since taken said ball and scored a slam dunk.

Last week, sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham was suspended indefinitely from the football team pending a Columbia Police Department investigation. On Thursday, CPD said Green-Beckham wouldn’t be arrested, but the police report revealed several texts and accounts of Green-Beckham pushing a victim down the stairs and dragging his girlfriend out by the neck. On Friday, Mizzou Athletics dismissed sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham from the football team.

Congratulations.

Dismissing Green-Beckham was undoubtedly difficult. He was, after all, one of Mizzou’s star receivers. But the decision to dismiss him was the right one. More than anything, breaking up with DGB sends the right message to fans around the country: Assaulting others isn’t OK.

Now that you’ve made the dunk, Mizzou Athletics, don’t be the player who only makes his shots when everyone’s watching.

Yes, you’re in the limelight. Yes, you should be doing the right thing right now. Yes, you should continue to do so when the light shines elsewhere.

We’re hesitant to praise you too soon. We’re worried that once the media moves on to the next big scandal, you won’t work to be transparent anymore. We’re worried that you’ll crawl back into your “we’re handling this internally” shell. Despite these fears, we hope that you’ll continue to take positive steps to implement change.

On Friday, after dismissing DGB, Mike Alden said in a Columbia Tribune article that he doesn’t think the recent string of illegal incidents with Tiger athletes is a cultural problem.

Really, Mike Alden. Really?

Zach Price was arrested twice in the same day for ramming people with his car, and this isn’t a problem? Really?

If you ask us, it’s pretty apparent that Mizzou Athletics — namely high profile athletes — has a cultural problem. It’s like a breeding ground for those who feel like they’re above the law.

Part of this problem lies with the fans. In the eyes of fans, the men on the field — or on the court — can do no wrong. An example of this is the “Free Mike Dixon” movement after basketball player Michael Dixon was under scrutiny for rape allegations last year. Most recently, in last week’s police report, the victim didn’t want to press charges because of the fan and media response. Most times, fans have a tendency to stick up for star athletes, but the tides are turning. Fans, make sure you realize the decision to dismiss DGB makes sense and is for the best. It’s the way things should be.

Think about it — when an athlete, like Zach Price or Derrick Washington, screws up and breaks the law, it’s national news. When former Missouri football player Max Copeland serves the homeless, few take note.

Mizzou Athletics, make sure you’re keeping up with your high profile athletes. No, we don’t mean hire the finest lawyers for them. Make sure they’re getting the utmost mental health care in case the pressure becomes too much.

You tout the Total Person Program, but from the outside looking in, who has this benefited? Surely not Levi Copelin when he made a scene in the MU ID office or the victim who was shamed in Derrick Washington’s case.

It’s of utmost importance that Mizzou Athletics continues to move forward with transparency in discipline and support for athletes. Yet again, the ball’s in your court.

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