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Saccoccia discusses decision to let Richmond play

Updated: Monday, August 11 2014, 06:45 PM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- It's been no big secret around town that Ma'lik Richmond, one of two teens convicted in the 2012 Steubenville rape case, had returned to practice this summer with the football team.
For the first time, though, we are hearing from Big Red football coach Reno Saccoccia about why Richmond has been allowed to return to the team.
"Number 1, I want to thank you for sitting down with me and asking me questions so we get it all straight," he said. "And secondly, it was a horrible crime -- it was a horrible crime. Everything the judicial system of Ohio asked him to do, he completed. Everything the school system asked him to do upon his release, he completed both academically and socially.
"He was back in school since January and was suspended from all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the year. I feel that we're not really giving him a second chance. Some may look at it like that. I feel he has earned a second chance. We don't deal in death sentences for juvenile activity, and I just feel that he's earned a second chance. I've thought about it hard, and I'm with that decision. He's one of 55 players that are in good standing with their teammates and their coaches who have the same opportunity as any other player."
Richmond and a teammate, Trent Mays, were convicted of a the attack that occurred two years ago to the date - Aug. 11, 2012.
Richmond served nine months of his one year sentence in juvenile detention, is currently on probation, and must register as a sex offender every six months.
Here's the Ohio High School Athletic Association's stance is on players who've had legal trouble off the field.
"In matters pertaining to personal conduct in which athletic contests and their related activities are not involved, the school itself is to be the sole judge as to whether the student may participate in athletics."
Mays is serving a 2-year sentence in juvenile detention and is scheduled to be released in January 2015.

Saccoccia discusses decision to let Richmond play

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