Thousands of trains crisscross the country every day without issue, but one wreck on the news is enough to throw the entire transportation system into question.
Similarly, scandals involving defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, suspended for an undisclosed disciplinary violation, and redshirt Kevin Olsen, arrested for driving under the influence, have cast shadows over the reputation of UM’s entire football program.
While they may not be of the same magnitude as the Ray Rice scandal, excessive media coverage of these events makes them stick in the public mind in a negative way.
Yet the drama of these scandals does not align with the quality of the team’s performance this season. So far the team has a winning record, and the season has only just begun. As the suspended football players were not starters and had minimal influence on the field, their removal will not affect the team’s performance going into the next games.
Nor is it fair to judge, based on these recent instances of wrongdoing, the moral character of the offenders’ teammates.
Each player was recruited based on his ability to play football. One cannot assume players share anything else in common, least of all the capacity to make educated decisions. If a student at Mahoney-Pearson were involved in a disciplinary violation, you would not conclude that all the students who happen to live on his floor were a bunch of thugs.
Fans of UM football should not confuse support for a team with approval for a player’s actions. It is not hypocrisy to admire a team for its collective ability and at the same time to criticize the behavior of its players. Athletes head to the field for no other reason than to play the game; it is perfectly acceptable for a fan to share a player’s acute focus on the game they both love.
While these scandals are regrettable, UM handled them accordingly, and there is every reason to believe they are isolated incidents with no long-term impact.
The team’s athletic progress will not come to a screeching halt. The moral ethics of every other player on the team will not simply derail. The engine of the Hurricane football team may have spluttered and choked for a moment, but the train itself never left the tracks.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.