Petition to Bo Pelini, Jim Tressel
Remove Steubenville Rapist, Ma'lik Richmond, from YSU's Football Team
In 2012, a 16-year-old girl was brutally raped by two high school football players, one of which is now a football player for Youngstown State University. Ma'lik Richmond was convicted of the rape of an unconscious young girl, which was also caught on camera and placed on social media to brag about the rape. In 2013, Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile detention center, and ended up serving only one year; he was released in January of 2014. Now, in 2017, as YSU students prepare to return to school and spend fall nights watching their football team play, there is a huge problem. That problem is that Richmond will be on the field, playing a game. He will be representing the university and all that it stands for. President Tressel and Coach Pelini, are you more concerned with your football team's status than the disgusting rape of a young girl? For many years, athletes have constantly been given additional chances because they are athletes. What does this say about rape culture? That athletes can do no wrong; that they can get away with anything because of how they perform on the field or in the gym? 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. As the voice of the students of Youngstown State University, I ask that Richmond be removed from the football team, and this privilege be revoked from someone who absolutely does not deserve it. Thank you.
Petition to National Federation of High School Associations
No More Steubenvilles: Educate Coaches About Sexual Assault
We are Connor and Carmen, a student athlete and a young feminist activist with SPARK Movement, and we are fed up with hearing the stories of male athletes committing acts of violence against young women from Johannesburg, South Africa to Steubenville, Ohio. We are sick of the sports communities surrounding them blindly supporting the boys and men, seemingly terrified of disrupting their athlete-hero culture that celebrates the local “golden boys” whose behavior has no consequences and ignores the voices and experiences of the girls and women they hurt. We need to change this culture that tolerates violence. We need solutions.As the trial in Steubenville played out before national audience, we heard about the violent and horrific experiences of a teenage girl, assaulted by local football playersduring a party weekend. We also know that one in four women and girls will be raped or assaulted by the time they turn 18. As a nation, we have a history of overlooking assault when it's committed by athletes, from the high school level to university programs to professional sports. But most athletes and coaches, like most men and most people, think sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence need to stop. Empowering coaches, who are mentors to young men, to begin difficult and complex conversations about sexual violence could create long-lasting change in communities across the nation and lead to curbing, and even ending, sexual violence. Behavior and attitudes change when important information on the topic comes from a trusted source. Students are willing (and often eager) to listen, but often only to people they respect.We are asking the National Federation of High School Associations, which offers annual required trainings for coaches in order for them to remain accredited, to partner with nationally recognized activist organizations to develop a course on sexual violence prevention for high school coaches. Coaches must be provided with the opportunity to learn how to foster a violence-free culture among their athletes in the locker room, on the playing fields and also in school hallways and weekend parties. As local “heroes” and role models, we need athletes to lead their communities toward a rape-free climate, and we expect coaches to be prepared to initiate and foster dialogue with their athletes around issues of sexual violence that are productive and educational. The role coaches play in the lives of athletes - as role models, mentors, and thought leaders to a large portion of the youth community - is invaluable. By training coaches to understand how to address this issue with young male athletes, we can make valuable steps toward safer communities across the United States.Support this initiative and request that the NFHS offers a violence-prevention course for high school coaches by signing on below.