Second chances are a tricky thing. Some people believe in them, while it depends on the offense for others. Domestic violence is one of those hot topic issues that divides people from all walks of life, and it's an issue that has reared its ugly head in our profession over the past 12 months with NFL names like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer in the media spotlight. It's a real world issue that has given many franchises an unwanted black eye.
Many, if not most, college coaches have set rules that place a premium on treating women with respect with steep consequences for those that break that rule. No questions asked.
Up in Canada at McGill University, located in Montreal, Quebec, head coach Clinton Uttley holds the belief that players deserve second chances in life. He's so firm in that belief that since the University didn't share that same vision during a recent player's run in with the law, he has given up his coaching position.
On September 24th, junior running back Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota was charged with assault and uttering threats in connection to an incident with his wife, but according to his lawyer, Guimont-Mota is actually the victim in the assault.
The prior assault conviction dates back to 2010 in Quebec City, but because of coach Uttley's deep-rooted belief in second chances, he was recruited anyway and the opportunity helped the young star blossom into a standout running back, winning last year's offensive MVP award.
However, the University was apparently unaware of the 2010 conviction until the most recent incident on the 24th, and released a statement saying that Guimont-Mota should have never been allowed to attend the university in the first place and has thus been suspended.
"In line with the university’s varsity athletics guidelines, effective immediately, this player is suspended from the football team pending resolution of his case by the court," deputy provost Ollivier Dyens added in McGill's official statement.
That release conflicted so starkly with coach Uttley's coaching philosophy, and overall approach to life that he decided to resign. He released a full statement after informing the team of his decision yesterday. The full statement can be read below, courtesy of CBC News:
I have resigned as the Head Coach of the McGill Redmen Football team. The University released a statement on Friday, September 26, 2014 regarding allegations against an individual from our team.
“A member of the McGill Redmen football team was in Court on Thursday to face criminal charges. T his individual had previously pleaded guilty to an assault charge arising from a 2010 incident in Quebec City. This individual should not have been invited to join our team. That was not in accordance with the values of our community.”
The above statement does not represent my personal morals or values with regards to sport, recruiting, and life in general. I believe in rehabilitation. The student athlete accepted his conviction and did his punishment, a fact that was not hidden from the University. At the time of his arrival, the University tolerated and accepted his presence and then proceeded to celebrate his accomplishments thereafter.
For McGill University to say now that this individual should not have been allowed on our team in the first place because of his past, deeply troubles me and in good conscience I cannot work for an organization that does not embrace equity and inclusiveness. Postsecondary education should be accessible for all, not just the ones’ who have no known incidences. How can someone aspire to rehabilitation when the leading institutions of Quebec and Canada shun those who have made an error in judgment?
I believe that University is exactly the place to shape and mold young adults to reach their full potential. If this were not the case, I would not be here before you today. If the football coaches in my life had not provided me with an equal opportunity, I would not have completed a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Education in Inclusive Education. I wanted to give back to those who mentored and influenced me in a positive way through the use of sport as those who offered their support to me.
If providing young men with a second opportunity has effectively cost me my position as head football coach at McGill, then I accept that consequence in order to maintain a higher moral standard then what’s been dictated.
-Clinton J. Uttley
Take a second and put yourself in coach Uttley's shoes. Would you stand up to your employer? Or are there particular offenses that simply can't be forgiven? Where do you draw the line?