UA was wrong to give Taylor 2nd chance

Editorial Board

Jonathan Taylor has now been kicked off of two SEC football teams in less than a year for the same alleged crime, and University of Alabama Athletics, University of Alabama Admissions and head football coach Nick Saban must bear some responsibility for his actions. Second chances exist so people can learn from their mistakes without losing their futures. However, second chances can come back to bite those who provide them, especially when they are given to people who have not earned them.

On Sunday afternoon, after allegedly assaulting another woman, Taylor was dismissed from the football team. The response was quick, direct and appropriate. Still, the institutional willingness to ignore Taylor’s wrongdoings and the consequences of that blind spot have cast the entire football team and, by extension, The University of Alabama in a bad light.

In recruiting him, the Crimson Tide football team rushed to a decision about Taylor’s actions before the justice system could do the same, as the case against him in Georgia is still open. It is not Saban or the UA administration’s place to act as judge and jury for someone charged with a crime as serious as domestic abuse. While we respect Saban’s willingness to work with players who have made mistakes, Taylor had not even answered for his crimes in Georgia before he was accepted at The University of Alabama. Second chances are important, but they must be earned through an appropriate distance from the original offense and a basic demonstration of remorse and reform.

Moving forward, we hope Saban and the administration will use better judgement when deciding who deserves a second chance. We also hope admissions learns from its mistake. It seems implausible that Taylor would ever have been admitted to the University with two open charges against him if he had not been a 6-foot-4, 335-pound four-star defensive lineman.

There is apparently a double standard for current and potential football players on this campus. Administrators should not treat students with impressive athletic abilities with more leniency. Students with extraordinary intellectual or academic abilities are not treated with the same preference. There must be a consistent standard for the admission of students to The University of Alabama, regardless of whether or not Saban wants them on his team.

Saban made the right call on Sunday by dismissing Taylor from the football team. But Taylor should never have been in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, should never have been allowed to play football here and should never have been allowed to be a student on this campus. Second chances must be earned, not merely given to people who can play a sport well.

Our View is the consensus of the Editorial Board. Sean Landry, who reported on Jonathan Taylor’s arrest and dismissal, recused himself from this editorial.