Appeals court upholds decision to allow Ma'Lik Richmond to play


Ma'lik Richmond, 21, who was convicted of rape as a teen in the case which brought rape culture as it relates to athletics to the national discourse-sued Youngstown State University because was barred from playing on the school's football team after a student on campus protested.

The ruling means Ma'lik Richmond, 21, will be allowed to play for Youngstown State University in a game against Central Connecticut State University on Saturday.

The AP reports that the sophomore sued Youngstown State this week after the school allowed him to join the football team as a walk-on defensive end in January but then told him he would not be able to play this season. He's seeking reinstatement along with lawyer fees and an unspecified amount of damages.

In 2013, Richmond was convicted, along with another student at Steubenville High School in OH, of raping a 16-year-old girl while she was intoxicated, and later taking pictures of her naked body.

U.S. District Court Judge Benita Y. Pearson heard arguments from both sides Thursday afternoon; a few hours later, she issued a temporary restraining order that forbids YSU from preventing Richmond from participating in football games until the next hearing.

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There was supposed to be another hearing on September 28 to see if Richmond will be allowed to stay on the team permanently.

Ma'lik Richmond, of Steubenville, filed a federal lawsuit against the university Wednesday after the school allowed him to join the team and then told him he could not play after a female student circulated a petition asking he be kept off the team. He's seeking reinstatement to the team's active roster along with attorney fees and an unspecified amount of damages.

Richmond claims the school has violated his civil rights and is causing him to lose a year of football eligibility that could later cost him a professional football career. The case attracted widespread attention in the United States.

Richmond served about 10 months in a juvenile prison after he and a Steubenville High School teammate were convicted in 2013 of raping a 16-year-old girl during an alcohol-fueled party.

Stone argues that by not allowing Richmond to play on the team, he was being sanctioned by the university although he had done nothing illegal or actionable during his time as a student.

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Richardson was released in January 2014.

Richmond's lawsuit says the university is "infected by an anti-male bias that has swept across America's universities and colleges".

She also argued that any promises made by Pelini and any other member of the coaching staff could be overruled by YSU President Jim Tressel for the good of the university.

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 quit the team after learning of the statement.

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