Just when you thought the story of convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond could not stoop any lower, it somehow just has.
Richmond is suing Youngstown State after being removed from the football program following a student-organized protest against his connection to the Penguins’ football program. Richmond claims the university cost him a year of eligibility and future monetary damages and other consequences as a result of a decision he claims was made “without any cause for discipline whatsoever.” As the legal battle gets underway, a judge has ruled in favor of a temporary restraining order that allows Richmond to be eligible to play this weekend for Youngstown State.
From a report by WFMJ;
Although Judge Pearson wrote in her opinion that it isn’t yet clear if Richmond will prevail if he takes his case before a jury, she calls “viable” Richmond’s claims that the university breached a contract with him and that YSU violated the federal law guaranteeing equal opportunities for both male and female athletes.
Judge Pearson also acknowledged in her opinion that Richmond would suffer “irreparable harm”, due in part to him being banned from playing football for what she characterized as “past behavior—non-YSU student related behavior—without notice or process.”
Essentially, the judge agrees Richmond was being punished by Youngstown State for a past crime he had already paid the legal time for. That makes for a sticky situation for Youngstown State, as now they have a situation in which they are forced to make eligible a player they gave a second chance to only to yank it from him before having to hand it back over. While Richmond may be eligible to play, it remains to be seen if Pelini will send Richmond on the field to actually play. If he does, or even if he does not, this situation will continue to boil over, all because Youngstown State tried giving Richmond an opportunity in the first place. Pelini has previously said he decided to welcome Richmond to the program following his own investigation, and Richmond claims Pelini informed him he would play this season after the spring.
As it stands now, the court order from the judge says Youngstown State may not remove Richmond from the active roster until a hearing is held later this month. That hearing is scheduled for September 28, meaning Richmond will be eligible for this weekend’s home game against Central Connecticut State. The Penguins have a bye week next week and will not play their next game until two days after Richmond’s hearing, September 30 at home against South Dakota State.
Richmond was convicted of rape of a 16-year old as a teenager in the Steubenville High School football scandal in 2013. He served one year in jail for his crime and later was welcomed to play football for Youngstown State. Before he could play in a game for the program coached by former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, an online petition started by a concerned Youngstown State student led to the university responding by blocking Richmond from playing for the program. The university announced Richmond will not be allowed to play for the team but he could stay with the team.
Last month, Richmond’s father, Nathanial Richmond, shot Judge Joseph Bruzzese in Steubenville, Ohio. A probation officer shot and killed Richmond in response to the violence, and an investigation was opened to attempt to determine if the shooting and Ma’lik’s rape trial were connected.
[WFMJ/Photo: CBS News]