Before last month, Csont’e York was only known as a former three-star recruit who was currently a sophomore with the Michigan Wolverines football team. A wide receiver out of Harper Woods, Michigan, York would have been competing for playing time this fall with the departures of Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, and Jeremy Jackson. However, before fall camps even opened up, Head Coach Brady Hoke slapped York with an indefinite suspension for what was termed “failing to meet team standards.” It was not until Tuesday, August 12 that the true reason behind this suspension was made known.
According to mlive.com, police reports allege that York sucker-punched a man outside of a bar on July 18. Mlive also obtained security footage from the bar, which clearly show York in the act. In the video below, York can be seen in the background wearing a distinctive white hat. According to reports, York’s punch “knocked out a tooth and broke [the victim’s] jaw in three places, requiring it to be wired shut and necessitating the temporary use of a breathing tube.”
Even more damning for York, is that when questioned by police, he neither denied punching the victim, nor did he appear to be telling the truth, as the video does not corroborate his story. “A group of dudes walked by and bumped me,” according to York, who also said of the victim, “he pressed up on him [teammate Da’Mario Jones] face to face exchanging words for no reason. I got (nervous) and scared about the situation so I hit the guy. I punched him.” The video shows neither the victim pressing into Jones, nor any conceivable reason why York’s reaction would be warranted. In short, there is no reason why York shouldn’t be guilty of the three counts of assault he is faced with.
While Michigan is likely waiting for the legal process to take its course, there is no excuse for letting York off with anything less than a year-long suspension, if not dismissal and revocation of his scholarship, given the egregious nature of his actions. While he is currently facing an “indefinite suspension,” that could end up being reinstatement without missing any time on the field, or merely a slap on the wrist similar to the one that Graham Glasgow received, being forced to miss the opener against Appalachian State for a DWI that was pled down. While Michigan has attempted to uphold the image of a football program which is above reproach, this attitude has clearly become a punchline (no pun intended). The timing of this news makes Athletic Director David Brandon’s statement last week to AP writer Larry Lage look even more ridiculous: “Part of Brady’s job description is to teach life lessons that help young men become successful in life, and he’s doing a great job at that.”
York’s cowardly act is a microcosm of the violence perpetrated by the university’s football players, and perpetuated by the school’s inaction. Current Tennessee Titans offensive lineman, and former Wolverines left tackle Taylor Lewan is still facing charges for allegedly knocking an Ohio State fan unconscious last fall. Lewan faced zero discipline from the university. Far more disturbing is the fact that former kicker Brendan Gibbons was not expelled from the university for raping a fellow student until after he had nearly exhausted his football eligibility this past December.
The bottom line is, York must face consequences for his actions, and so should have the previously mentioned players, all of whom were barely punished for a range of detrimental conduct. Furthermore, the university must also make a decision regarding its reputation; either continue to uphold the image of a clean, law-abiding program by punishing those who disgrace its name, or finally abandon the sanctimonious attitude that has become a joke, and sell out character for wins. Clearly, Michigan’s football program can’t have both.
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