This petition frustrates me for several reasons. And, it's also frustrating that in the context of sexual assault, any attempt to defend the transgressor on peripheral issues is perceived as rape apology. So, to nip that in the bud, here's my obligatory preface: What Richmond did was despicable, and he deserved to be punished. Now, for my frustrations:
The petition starts by saying the victim was "brutally raped by two high school football players," one of which is Richmond. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that Richmond and others had digitally penetrated, i.e., fingered, the victim while she was unconscious. That constitutes rape in Ohio. But to call it a "brutal rape" is hyperbole, and whoever drafted this petition should be a prosecutor.
The petition also states that, "[f]or many years, athletes have constantly been given additional chances because they are athletes." It continues: "Does he deserve a second chance? Yes, he does, and he is receiving that second chance by furthering his education on YSU's campus. Does he deserve the privilege of playing on a football team and representing a university? Absolutely not. Education is a right, whereas playing on a sports team is not."
This is ridiculous. First, how has Richmond received an "additional chance?" By serving time, meeting expectations for early release and seeking to turn his life around? So, do all released inmates who have paid their debt receive unfair "additional chances" merely by trying to enjoy their freedom? This argument is less about reasonable sentencing policy and more about baggage resulting from perceived benefits received by "jocks."
Second, on what reasonable basis can the author distinguish playing football for YSU and receiving a degree from the same? The former is representing the university, but the latter is not? Richmond can put YSU on his resume, join an alumni organization, network, etc., but he cannot play football? Is it just because the latter is fun? Because he'll enjoy himself? I've never had to argue that one of my clients should be allowed to have fun after serving time, because that would be silly.
Finally, and this is less important, but how is a college education a right? It absolutely is not, and this just further exposes the poor logic on which this petition is based.
Richmond could learn valuable lessons playing college football: accountability, discipline, etc. But, because he committed sexual assault in high school, some would rather he be deprived of these lessons, because he might have fun in the process. That's not only counter-productive, but dangerous. When offenders feel they have no opportunities upon release, it is just encouragement to go "back to the system."
My two cents.