Richmond playing football at YSU, fans have mixed reactions - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Richmond playing football at YSU, fans have mixed reactions

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

At the tailgate lot, there was food and camaraderie between YSU Penguin fans excited about the game. 

Some people were glad to see the court rule that Ma'lik Richmond no longer must sit on the sidelines for a year. Richmond, who had been convicted as a juvenile of rape, sued Youngstown State University to play.  

Candy Zebrowski from Campbell said, "He served his time. Give him a chance, that's my feeling. I really hope he does well." 

Amy Lampushansky a YSU graduate said she believes people deserve a second chance, so Richmond should play. 

But others in the court of public opinion say it speaks volumes of Richmond's character to cry foul in court against the coaches, and mentors at YSU who gave him that second chance when no one else would. 

"It's just a slap in the face to people who wanted to help him. It's a black mark on the university," said Harold Wilson.  Kay Wilson said, "I wish he had taken the high road and sort of didn't want the notoriety that this is all bringing up."

Several YSU students and their parents told us off camera they agree with YSU that Richmond should have sat it out for a year, but say the courts have ruled. 

We did find a student willing to voice her opinion on camera. YSU student Ashlyn Cleevely said she knew he did his time, but it didn't seem like enough.  

"He should be able to attend school and take classes, but I disagree with allowing him to play football," Cleevely said. 

It appears any planning for protests were shut down by Facebook, according to Jeff Vrabel who talked to our print partner The Vindicator. 

Most of the people we asked to talk us had strong opinions. However, when we asked them to do an interview on camera, they punted. 

Some predicted Richmond will be in trouble again, others say structured time at practice will help him stay on a good path.  

All the people we talked with are hoping YSU, the media, and community can get beyond the Ma'lik Richmond controversy and focus solely on football and the university.

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