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Friday, May 6, 2016

Cheap Seats: Pierce's actions not shocking

Thursday, February 3, 2005

There's not many fans across the state of Iowa who could honestly tell you they were shocked when told about the news of Pierre Pierce being dismissed from the University of Iowa basketball team after learning he is the focus of yet another criminal investigation.

Momentarily surprised maybe, but not shocked.

Shocked implies that the news was so completely unexpected that the mere thought of Pierce doing such a thing would bring you to tears; that the revelation left you bewildered and offended, maybe even dismayed. You didn't see it coming.

Let's be honest, if Ray Charles were still alive, even he would have seen this coming.

What did the University of Iowa officials expect after the way they handled it the last time Pierce got in trouble?

When Pierce was accused of rape in 2002, the University of Iowa surrounded him with support. They had his back throughout, it didn't matter that the poor victim was also a Hawkeye athlete - a member of the U of I women's basketball team. They put their support behind the money man no matter who it alienated.

Eventually he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault causing injury. He received one year of probation and 200 hours of community service. He was also ordered to get counseling and was forbidden to have contact with the accuser.

She accused Pierce of rape, he was originally charged with felony sexual assault, and he ended up escaping with a misdemeanor. A guilty plea tells me there was some sort of damning evidence in there somewhere. Usually pleas are reached because the trial drags the victim through the mud.

What did the University of Iowa do in response to Pierce's admission of guilt?

They gave him a redshirt and kept him on scholarship. They gave him a year off to settle the situation and then welcomed him back with open arms.

The situation many Iowa State fans came to refer to as "the rape redshirt."

So is it really that surprising that Pierce is again in the spotlight for some of the same crimes he was accused of before?

Why wouldn't he continue his behavior if he felt he wasn't going to be held accountable? Last time he did this he got a year off, a slap on the wrist and was allowed to continue playing basketball.

Athletes like Pierce have been pampered and protected from their actions since the day somebody realized they could play ball. There has always been somebody there to make sure they get what they want and need, even if it means looking the other way.

And now two Iowa State football players, Tyease Thompson and Jerry Gair, have been arrested for breaking into a dorm room and attempting to steal from a fellow student.

It's time that coaches and athletic directors take a stand on the type of athletes their schools recruit. It's time we stop focusing on just the abilities and start recruiting the person as a whole.

Can you imagine what would happen if we put a stop to these types of kids playing in our colleges? If we started recruiting athletes who also are good citizens?

We would see a drop in crime among adolescents. Attitudes would change among high school athletes and kids would get back to being respectful.

When I sit and think about it, it's a beautiful thing.

We all know that isn't going to happen at the college level, but man it is nice to dream. Maybe we should lead by example and start changing things here at our area high schools.

The truth is we all are guilty for these kids being at our universities. The pressure is put on our coaches by us fans to have the best team possible and that means getting the best players available, no matter who they are. We want to win, sometimes at all costs.

But the cost is getting to be too high as it trickles down into the younger students of Iowa. They see the actions of athletes and how much we worship them and attempt to imitate that.

Colleges need to start making sure they do things right with the grand platform they're given.

I'm not saying all crimes committed by college athletes should be dealt with expulsion. Small mistakes can be dealt with without dismissal.

Rape and sexual abuse isn't a small mistake and Pierce's dismissal is just.

It's just a little late.

Got a comment?

email Ben at cheapseatsct@hotmail.com



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