Sus­pend­ing Wil­liams only a step to fight abuse

The Kansas City Star - - Opinion -

News that a foot­ball player at the Univer­sity of Kansas was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of do­mes­tic bat­tery is dis­turb­ing and frus­trat­ing for all of us — and per­haps es­pe­cially so for those who fol­lowed the case of for­mer Chiefs run­ning back Ka­reem Hunt this week.

Ac­cord­ing to pa­per­work in the Dou­glas County Sher­iff’s of­fice, KU run­ning back An­thony Ray Wil­liams — known as “Pooka” — was ar­rested Thurs­day af­ter­noon. No other de­tails con­cern­ing the ac­cu­sa­tion were im­me­di­ately avail­able.

New foot­ball coach Les Miles said Wil­liams had been sus­pended from all foot­ball ac­tiv­i­ties. “We are tak­ing these al­le­ga­tions very se­ri­ously,” Miles said in a state­ment.

Kansans should not pre­judge the Wil­liams ac­cu­sa­tion un­til all the facts are in. At the same time, Miles was right to sus­pend the stu­dent from team ac­tiv­i­ties pend­ing a fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In­deed, if the al­le­ga­tion proves to be true, fur­ther pun­ish­ment will be war­ranted, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial dis­missal from the team and the univer­sity.

The Chiefs also made the right de­ci­sion in dis­miss­ing Hunt, who shoved and kicked a woman in Fe­bru­ary.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and vi­o­lence against women are a scourge. Amer­ica must do more — much more — to ed­u­cate men about the hor­ri­ble dan­ger of that vi­o­lence, and how to find ways to avoid it.

That seems par­tic­u­larly true now for young ath­letes. Foot­ball is a vi­o­lent game, but it is just a game. The peo­ple who or­ga­nize and coach the sport have an ab­so­lute duty to teach play­ers and coaches about the dif­fer­ence be­tween the vi­o­lence of the game and the costs of vi­o­lence in the real world.

That coun­sel­ing should be­gin early. And it should not be lim­ited to a one­time lec­ture: If teams, even in high school, lack on­go­ing ac­cess to coun­sel­ing and men­tal health ser­vices, they should add them now. Play­ers and per­son­nel should know help is al­ways avail­able to deal with anger in­volv­ing phys­i­cal threats to oth­ers.

That kind of coun­sel­ing should be avail­able to every­one, of course. The lack of qual­ity men­tal health ser­vices in the United States is an on­go­ing scan­dal, un­doubt­edly adding to the higher crime rate in many cities. Peo­ple who need help should be able to get it, with­out ques­tions asked or a credit card re­quired.

The peo­ple we cheer on Satur­days and Sun­days are not per­fect, and should not be held to that stan­dard. But they must know — and should be taught, again — that hit­ting or threat­en­ing oth­ers is al­ways wrong. They should also know where to find help if needed.

We hope Pooka Wil­liams gets that help. The Univer­sity of Kansas should make sure he gets it, whether or not he ever plays an­other down for the foot­ball team.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.