This one likely won’t sit well with a sizable segment of the population.
Thursday, Ma’lik Richmond sued Youngstown State in federal court Thursday in an attempt to get himself immediately reinstated to the football team. That same day, U.S. District Court Judge Benita Y. Pearson granted Richmond a temporary restraining order that forbids YSU from preventing Richmond from participating in football games until a Sept. 28 hearing; an appeal by the university was denied.
In the lawsuit, Richmond claimed he has the support of YSU head coach Bo Pelini and the university’s president, former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Saturday afternoon, Richmond was proven correct on at least the former as the walk-on defensive end was inserted in the third quarter of YSU’s win over Central Connecticut State and played the remainder of the contest, finishing with a pair of tackles.
The only mention of Richmond on either the football team’s official website or Twitter feed was in the stats package put together by the school’s sports information department. His head coach, though, proved to be a staunch supporter with his comments after the game.
— Brian Dzenis (@Brian_Dzenis) September 16, 2017
Word surfaced in early August of this year that an online petition was seeking the removal of Richmond from the Youngstown State football roster. In 2013, Richmond was one of two football players from Steubenville High School in Ohio to be convicted of raping a 16-year-old high school girl, and served nearly a year for his crime.
Giving the firestorm of criticism that erupted after it was learned he was on the Penguins’ roster, the university very shortly thereafter announced that Richmond would not be permitted to play in games for the team in 2017 even as he would be permitted to continue practicing with the team. Richmond subsequently quit the team after the university’s decision.
In the suit that triggered what is right now a temporary order, the plaintiffs argued that Richmond did not violate the student code of ethics as had been contended; has been denied the right to due process in violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution; and that the university violated Title IX laws by discriminating against Richmond on the basis of his sex.
YSU has a bye next weekend, meaning they won’t play another game prior to the hearing later this month. They will host South Dakota State Sept. 30 in their next scheduled game.