Second chances can be taken as monumental mistakes or blessings in disguise. The justice system, along with Michigan State University’s student conduct system and football program, have decided to give junior running back, Delton Williams, a second chance.
This past spring, Williams violated the University’s rules set in place to protect its staff, students and guests by displaying a firearm on campus. He pleaded not guilty and according to a press release Monday, he has not participated in any football related activities since mid-March and has not been enrolled in summer school.
“I appreciate the University and Coach Dantonio for providing me with the opportunity to return and finish what I started,” Williams said in the press release. “Being a student-athlete at Michigan State is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. It was a judgment call, but they all decided to provide me with a second chance. I’m truly blessed and grateful for this opportunity.”
As young people, we tend to run when we make mistakes. Williams could have put football and MSU to the side, returned home to Pennsylvania or even transferred to a new school to play football and start fresh. Instead, he endured criticism and the chance of being denied re-entry into MSU and its football program. This act should neither be praised nor rewarded; it should be acknowledged as the right thing to do.
“I never intended to put anyone in harm’s way, and I never believed the situation would get out of hand. I’ve learned from my mistake, and I won’t put myself in that type of situation again. I see things much differently now and know that I must think before I act,” Williams said. “As a result of my decision, manhood has been thrust upon me. I’ve grown up a lot over the last four months. That decision could have ruined all of my dreams. This situation has certainly brought me closer to God.”
In late March, I wrote an opinion piece criticizing Williams’ actions and sense of judgement. I am happy to see him fight for his “ticket out of the madness” that I said he so foolishly threw away.
Yet, I am still not fully convinced. If you display a firearm, how are you not trying to put someone in harm’s way? I consider displaying a firearm as a sign of threat to someone’s well being, whether intentional or not. Countless acts of gun violence have been reported in our nation and countless times we have heard apologies.
Hopefully, he has learned from his mistake. People of all ages dream of being a student athlete, especially at a Big Ten university. When awarded both, it is possible for good judgment to slip away unconsciously. Williams was given a second chance, but he will surely need to earn the respect back from the Spartan fans.
Williams is scheduled to return to the team Friday, August 18 for preseason practice.