In case you missed it over the weekend, former Henry Ford CC standout James Still, now a junior at Eastern Michigan, was suspended from the school after he pleaded guilty to a violent felony stemming from a pretty grotesque (and random) beatdown of a student in Rhode Island three years ago. The student spent nearly three days in the hospital. The beating came just six months after Still wrote this editorial about Detroit in which he decried the “stigma” that tends to follow players from the nation’s most violent city.
(Editorial note: One way to shake the stigma, I contend, would be to eschew beating random people to near death.)
Even though Eastern Michigan’s code of conduct for student-athletes should have precluded Still from being on the team until the matter was resolved, he had been practicing and playing with the team this season prior to the suspension.
The odd thing, of course, is that he was on the team at all. As Patrick Hayes pointed out in an article on BallInMichigan.com, it seems that Eastern Michigan didn’t even know that its own policy would have precluded Still from being in the program. In the policy, a player facing felony charges is “automatically” dismissed.
I can’t imagine that EMU would knowingly break its own rules for a player of Still’s caliber. In this case, ignorance would actually be preferable.