Editorial: Why the double standard, MU?

By now, it’s probably safe to assume everybody and their mother knows what’s going on with Derrick Washington: He has been charged with felony sexual assault, permanently suspended from the football team, his arraignment is in late September, and he is keeping his scholarship to finish his last year at MU.

OK, so he played football well and gave the Tigers some grand ol’ glory, but seriously, MU? You’re still paying him to go here?

We’re not going to get into how egregiously wrong sexual assault is, and we are not presuming his guilt. And he shouldn’t lose his scholarship over an unrelated crime either. But he should lose his athletic scholarship because, as a result of his own mistakes, he isn’t an MU athlete anymore. Permanent suspension, expulsion, getting fired — whatever you want to call it, he isn’t coming back to the team.

Sam Mellinger wrote an insightful column in the Kansas City Star this week, citing Washington as the heir to what should have been former Tiger basketball player Ricky Clemons’ punishment. In Clemons’ case (in which the guilt was caught on tape), the university failed to react and an entire UM system administration was effectively ruined with him. Washington hasn’t had his trial or made a public statement yet, but has been more or less found guilty by his school and his team, who might just be trying to cover their asses.

Although Mellinger argues the tribulations of the Clemons fiasco and justice, he concedes that if found guilty, Washington has deservedly lost a hell of a lot more than a spot on the football team.

However, it seems more than likely that Pinkel and Washington have had a chat or two about this situation. Why else would they “permanently suspend” him from the team before he has made a public statement? The media hellfire that plagued the administration of the Clemson era existed because he was brazenly guilty and no one did anything. Considering they’re already making permanent decisions, it feels safe to assume someone (Pinkel) knows something (like the truth) about his guilt.

Plenty of students come to MU on academic scholarships, and no matter how close you are to making the necessary GPA, if you don’t make it, your scholarship is taken away. Point being, if you’re not doing what you’re paid to be doing, then you shouldn’t be getting paid.

So what’s with the double standard?

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