St. Joe softball player offers an apology: ABC Channel 6

Moderator:   The letter, presumably well intentioned, demonstrates why educators and coaches need to emphasize why “voluntary participation” by athletes is no excuse in a court.

Excerpt

In a letter, obtained by Action News, one of the suspended player concedes – in her words – “You know just as well as I do, our team had a freshman welcome week, there is no denying that.”

Action News had previously reported that freshman players were given written instructions on things they had to do or there would be consequences.

It’s alleged that those students had to consume alcohol, perform sexual acts involving inappropriate touching and lap dances, and other acts to graphic to outline.

The player acknowledged the existence of the letter outlining those things, but she says everything was meant to be voluntary.

The player says she now realizes that some students may have thought that they were required.

In the letter she refers to the inappropriate touching by saying, “To us, this is no big deal because we do that all the time.”

She also goes on to say, “One of the events planned was a lap dance.”

Robert Champion death trials commence again

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Excerpt:

The defendants — Benjamin McNamee, 24; Aaron Golson, 22; and Darryl Cearnel, 28; are being tried together and each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Known as “Crossing Bus C,” the ritual required band members to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back. Two other band members — Lissette Sanchez and Keon Hollis — went through the bus before Champion, and survived.

A total of 15 former band members were charged with manslaughter. One, Jessie Baskin, served one year in county jail. Others plea bargained for probation and community service. The band itself was suspended for more than a year while officials tried to clean up the program.

Dante Martin, now 27 and serving a six-year term for felony hazing and manslaughter, is the only former band member to receive prison time the death of Champion.

Martin’s attorneys told his jurors that there was no actual hazing, likening the ritual to a “competition” in which Champion and the others voluntarily took part.

But state attorney Jeff Ashton said testimony made it clear that band members were looking for a measure of respect and acceptance by “crossing Bus C,” and that their willing participation was “not a defense” for those who were charged.