A sophomore cornerback for the Colorado Buffaloes has been accused of attempting to push a female companion down a stairwell. He has been arrested and charged with domestic violence, assault and harassment. He has also been suspended indefinitely, on the eve of fall football camp.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre told reporters that he had suspended the 19-year-old player after immediately reporting the domestic violence allegations to the appropriate office, which in this case was the University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.
He was apparently quick to point out his having done so after having run into trouble in regards to the policy in the past. After he and other officials previously failed to report domestic violence allegations against former coach Joe Tumpkin, he was ordered to make a donation to a domestic assault support organization in the amount of $100,000.
“We will determine any further disciplinary action after receiving more information,” the coach said in a statement. “I am very troubled by these allegations, as they do not represent the values of our university and our football program.”
The fact that this student was suspended reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance and also suspended indefinitely, immediately upon the allegations being brought against him, shows how a mere allegation can affect the accused. Ordinarily, we expect consequences to come after conviction, not due to bare allegations.
In an emotional case like one where domestic violence allegations are made, it’s tempting to take sides. And, if you assume all the allegations are true, it’s easy to pick the side of the victim over the alleged perpetrator.
There are good reasons to act quickly. Someone’s wellbeing or even life could be in danger. It makes some sense to have policies in place that initiate a formal review of the incident in question and make certain that all parties’ rights are protected.
At the same time, it’s very troubling to see serious consequences levied against someone who is merely accused. Our constitution guarantees us the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.