A federal appeals court let convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond play in a college football game Saturday, despite efforts by his university to prevent that from happening, as reported by ESPN.
Youngstown State University had sought to block Richmond, 21, from playing in the game, but he sued this week to challenge that decision.
U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson agreed with him and let him play football until she holds a hearing to make a permanent ruling on September 28.
The school on Friday morning appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, but the court rejected it that afternoon.
While a student at Steubenville High School in Ohio, Richmond was convicted in 2013 of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl and photographing her naked body. Another student was also involved in the crime, which attracted international attention.
Richmond was sentenced to 10 months in a juvenile detention center.
Youngstown State had initially planned to let Richmond participate in the football game as a walk-on until a female student circulated a petition to get him kicked off the team, at which point university officials reversed course and told him he could not play this season.
Richmond’s lawsuit sought reinstatement to the football team’s active roster. The suit claims that Youngstown is “infected by an anti-male bias that has swept across America’s universities and colleges.”
The university argued in court that it has a right to prevent Richmond from playing so it can prevent protests and disruptions on campus.
The appeals court said the university failed to prevent evidence showing how temporarily allowing Richmond to play “has serious or irreparable consequences.”
Richmond began playing Saturday in the third quarter of the football game. The Youngstown State Penguins beat the Central Connecticut Blue Devils 59-9.
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