In case you didn”t hear, freshman cornerback Markus Curry was charged with domestic assault and telephone or telegraph cutting, taping, breaking or connecting Friday morning.

Paul Wong
The SportsMonday Column<br><br>Raphael Goodstein

In layman”s terms, the woman charged Curry of assault and then cutting her telephone so that she couldn”t call for help.

Curry pled not guilty to this charge.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr found out early Friday morning and immediately suspended Curry indefinitely.

“This is a serious issue and it is very important there be no rush to judgment. An investigation will be made, the facts will be revealed and a judgment will be made based on those facts,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said in a press release.

This is not the first time that a football player has been charged with a heinous crime.

At the end of last school year, defensive end Shantee Orr was charged with third degree sexual assault.

In that case, Orr called the victim, whom he once dated, and proposed having sex one last time.

She said no.

They had sex anyway.

In an e-mail to her the next day, he said: “I was just thinking to myself and I violated something that I said I would never do.”

The victim ultimately dropped the charges. Neither Curry nor Orr were found guilty, but the fact that these charges are even filed against these players is bad for the University.

“It”s totally unacceptable behavior,” Athletic Director Bill Martin said. “You don”t condone this but you can”t police these kids 24 hours a day.”

Much like the basketball program, the football program has had a series of off-the-field problems. Besides Curry and Orr, former players David Terrell, James Whitley, Jason Brooks, Maurice Williams, Larry Stevens and Cato June are just a few players that have had off-the-field problems recently.

Some of these players were dismissed from the team, some weren”t. There are inconsistencies with who”s dismissed and who isn”t. Some say that the stars get away with more than backups.

Regardless, when these student-athletes represent Michigan so shabbily, the entire University looks bad.

“Last year, after an instance that happened on the basketball team, an alumnus said to me “my degree has just been devalued,” ” Athletic Director Bill Martin said.

“And I agree with him.”

For many, the football team is what comes to mind when people think of Michigan, not the engineering school. And for this reason, the University cannot afford to let these problems continue.

So then one needs to ask oneself, do the benefits of having a football program outweigh the negatives that come with it?

The University of Chicago, which at the time dominated the Big Ten, once asked itself this question and decided that it didn”t need a football program.

Martin, who isn”t ready to contemplate this question yet nor am I saying he necessarily needs to is quick to point out that regular students commit crimes as well as football players. But that when a football player commits a crime, the media reports the news.

I, as a reporter, say that”s the deal football players make when they agree to play at Michigan. They live in a fishbowl. The media reports the crimes and misdemeanors they commit, just as we report the touchdowns. There are a number of perks football players get because of the football team fame, in some cases fortune, and the opportunity for a free degree are just a few.

Martin is right. These athletes can”t be policed 24 hours a day. But if Michigan is going to have a football team, it needs student-athletes who realize that the spotlight doesn”t end when the game does.

And if they”re going to sign the unwritten contract to become a student-athlete, they must realize that accountability comes with the fame.

Raphael Goodstein can be

reached at raphaelg@umich.edu.

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