Ohio State Football: Regardless of Charges, Storm Klein Should Not Be a Buckeye
Last month, Storm Klein was dismissed from the Ohio State football team after being charged with domestic violence and assault. It was, to say the least, an embarrassment for the OSU football program and an appropriate response by Urban Meyer.
On Wednesday, however, Klein's attorney worked out a plea deal for a disorderly conduct charge, according to ESPN.com, and now apparently the door to returning to Ohio State may be back open. Here's more:
A trial in the case, originally set for this past Monday, had been postponed until Sept. 24. Larry James, an attorney for Klein, said an agreement was reached to allow for the possible return of Klein to the Buckeyes team.
"We have asked the coach (Urban Meyer) not to prejudge," James said. "We've asked that (Klein) be reinstated. He has said that if things materially change, he would reconsider."
According to information James presented to the court, the alleged victim in the case said that Klein "didn't hit her, didn't intend to hurt her" and that "she wanted the charges dropped."
According to a document from the Franklin County Municipal Court, Klein has agreed to 18 months' probation and adherence to a "behavioral contract" with Ohio State that includes many conditions. He also received credit for two days served.
That's all fine and good, and it is entirely plausible that Klein didn't intend to hurt the alleged victim and that she—the mother of his child—doesn't want charges filed against him.
Would you let Storm Klein back on your team after his plea deal?
But Klein still shouldn't be allowed back on the team.
Here's a news flash: Men can—and occasionally do—accidentally commit acts of domestic violence. Women can—and occasionally do—forgive it. This certainly doesn't apply to all men and all women, but it's something that happens. And accidentally hurting a woman is hardly more acceptable than intentionally hurting one.
More to the point, revisiting what Klein's own attorney said about the incident—i.e., not an allegation, but what Klein's camp is freely admitting—his actions were enough that a football coach that's serious about his core values shouldn't entertain the idea of allowing his player back. To wit (via the Columbus Dispatch):
James said that Klein is expected to assert that the former girlfriend showed up unannounced to talk about their relationship, started raising havoc and was forcibly put outside the front door by Klein. He then locked her out.
That's flatly unacceptable. If you're 240 pounds (and strong enough to play linebacker), you never put your hands on women and forcibly make them do anything. We're not saying Klein should go to jail for life over this or anything—if a judge decides it's worthy of a disorderly conduct conviction, then that's that—but it's still conduct that Ohio State should not reward with the privilege of a scholarship and a spot on the football team.
Does that sound harsh? Sure, it probably does. Responsibility can be harsh. That's what makes it matter. If responsibility were easy, there'd be no such thing as bad things happening in the world. We're obviously not at that point.
So here's what Klein should have done. If he didn't want the alleged victim to be there, he should have told her to leave and refused to engage her further than that. If she wouldn't leave, he should have called the police. Let them handle what amounts to an intruder in your home. That's their job, and it's okay for them to do that. But no matter what anybody tells you about what "being a real man" is, rest assured that it never involves what Klein's attorney admits he did.
We'll see how Urban Meyer handles this situation. As yet, Ohio State hasn't made any commitment to revisiting Klein's dismissal or setting a timetable. If Meyer wants to show his team and the rest of the Big Ten that his values are firm, though, he'll stand pat and move on without Klein. And that'll be the right move.
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