Steve Spurrier, head coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team, said in a press conference last week that he will never allow a player who is convicted of domestic abuse to play on his team.
“We’re not going to have a guy on our team that has done that,” Spurrier said. “I can’t understand that why every coach doesn’t have that rule and why every company doesn’t have that rule for their employees.”
Both professional and college football organizations have wrestled with the issue of how to fairly treat players who have faced criminal charges. The NFL is entangled in accusations of inconsistently punishing Ray Rice following his admittance of hitting his then-fiancée.
Temple received criticism last year for allowing Kamal Johnson, a starting defensive tackle, to play the majority of the 2013 season despite pleading guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of harassment.
However, Praise Martin-Oguike was kicked off the team and expelled in Spring 2012 when a sexual assault charge was brought against him. He was later cleared of all charges, and is a starter for the team this season.
To prevent this unfair inconsistency, a standard must be adopted by football organizations when dealing with these charged players.
Football organizations should rely on the American judicial system or undeniable proof, like the video of Rice hitting his then-fiancée, to determine if a player is eligible for the team, as this system has always been the final word in determining one’s guilt.
When the judicial system convicts a player of domestic abuse, is undeniably guilty or admits to the crime, they should never be allowed to play for the university again. The zero-tolerance policy is one that all teams – including Temple sports programs – need to adopt.