EDITORIAL: Commending the proactive approach of athletics
While it may have seemed a bit premature for Central Michigan University athletics to dump sophomores Austin White and Joe Sawicki and freshman Danel Harris from the football program just a day after the police announced charges against them, it was a move that made the best of an awful situation.
While all of the players are innocent until proven guilty, at this point, this is not the type of distraction the program needs. Removing them from all team-related activities sends a strong message that distractions and off-the-field controversies will no longer be tolerated.
Giving a proactive response to the arrests shows, at the very least, the football team is focused on what it needs to be focused on: Football.
Leaving White, Sawicki and Harris on the team, even for several more months, isn’t something that would help the team. As CMU Athletics said in a news release: “None of the three players have officially appeared in a CMU jersey.”
If athletes as a whole, and football players even moreso, are to be held up as ambassadors of our school, then they should be judged to a stronger degree than the rest of the student body. The discovery of evidence substantial enough to investigate and arrest three students on serious charges serves as more than adequate reason for their dismissal.
Athletics took a risk when it dismissed White and the other two players before any convinctions have been handed down, and there remains a scenario in which some or all of the players will have a legitimate claim to reinstatement if the case against them collapses. However, it was more important to send a message of zero tolerance and remove both a source of distraction and potential further trouble from a team whose morale is still recovering from a difficult campaign last year.
White was dumped unceremoniously by the University of Michigan. Coach Enos took a chance on him, recognizing that his talent merited a second chance. He gave him another shot after a disciplinary slip-up in the fall, reinstating him as a player only months before this current fiasco.
Enos’ apparent willingness to walk away from a player he invested so much in shows a new willingness by our football team to take the moral high ground. Now is the time for the program to rack up more than just moral victories.
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