We've all made mistakes, some small, and some egregious. That's part of growing up, right?
Now imagine this. You've always excelled at something, in an area that makes a positive impact, not only to yourself, but to your entire community. You've had dreams of making something out of your life, to have an opportunity to pursue a higher education and the chance to compete at the highest level in your respective field.
Then, because of one costly mistake, you witness all of that taken away from you. That's what happened to Dwayne "Deejay" Hunter, a 19 year old former football and track star from Middleton High School in Hamilton, Ohio.
Hunter was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to felonious assault to 180 days in jail, 500 hours of community service and five years of probation. Among these terms, he cannot participate in any form of organized sports, including intramural activities.
For most, the latter part of this sentence wouldn't be a big deal. After all, in this day in age, we don't necessarily need to play sports to get our life going in the right direction.
But for Hunter, who was previously recruited by the University of Tennessee, along with "multiple Big Ten and Big East schools" before his arrest, he is losing his right not only to play collegiate sports, but an opportunity to receive a first-class education.
Now, before we get any further, let's go into the details of the crime Hunter committed, so that you can be the judge. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hunter "shot a 15-year-old boy twice in the face with a BB gun. He fired the gun from a vehicle, with one projectile striking the victim's eyelid"
So, you be the judge, is this ruling fair? Obviously, what Hunter did was wrong, but does it make it right that established professional athletes could do the same thing, receive a much more lenient sentence, and face a mere suspension before being granted a second chance?
To me, this seems extremely harsh.
Hunter is already paying a large price for what he did, with serving time behind bars, the aforementioned community service and probation. Why take away his second chance to participate in sports?
He already isn't going to be given a scholarship to a top tiered Division-I program; he would have to prove himself most likely at the junior college level, while being enrolled in college courses, which would give the teen a chance to expand his mind and grow as a person.
You only get one second chance, and Hunter is a young man who deserves an opportunity to redeem himself. If he screws up again, then by all means, give him a harsh sentence, one that makes the loss of participating in sports a mere afterthought.
But this is his first offense. He isn't a repeat offender, and by taking away something that gives an individual the most joy and the most happiness isn't going to make him a better person, it is only going to set him up for more failure.
Let this be a cautionary tale to all of you superstar high school athletes out there who think they can get away with and do anything they want without the consequences.
When you have an opportunity to pursue greatness off and on the field, don't let it slip away in the heat of the moment—rise above it and be thankful for what you've got, because I can guarantee you there is someone in Hamilton, Ohio who would give anything to be in your shoes.
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