Editorial: Robinson stories teach lesson


Issue Supporters of Anthony Robinson say the media has unfairly hammered him.

Our View Some things must be reported. But our stories about Robinson have taught an important lesson.

Anthony Robinson is guilty. No big shocker there, right? After all, nobody is saying he’s innocent.

But stop now if you want to think that’s all there is to the story.

As reported on the front page this week, both Robinson and former fellow athlete Marquise Richardson were sentenced to jail time in unrelated crimes. Now Robinson will spend two years at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

Many of Robinson’s friends blamed the media for “hammering” him. The Collegian is part of the media in this situation – we printed stories of his arrest, his guilty plea, and now his sentencing.

If printing a charge by the police is wrong, we’re guilty. But it’s a necessary burden for us because we believe you deserve to know what’s going on in your world.

Should we avoid printing police charges that may affect and interest our readers? No.

Should we have looked more closely at Robinson the Man instead of Robinson the Criminal before this week? Yes.

And however belatedly, that’s what we did this past week – speaking to his friends, football comrades and classmates to find out the man behind the stories. After all, the crime tales do only tell the bad.

It’s not always easy to do. Discovering who someone is takes time and energy. We’re not making excuses, we’re just telling you what the strains of class assignments and news deadlines are like. Often we don’t get to dig as deep as we want to.

But learning about Robinson taught us an important lesson: We are all human.

He was away from his family in an unfamiliar place – a tragic set-up for losing your bearings in life. He was strapped for cash and didn’t want to ask his family for more.

If you’ve never been in one of those situations, feel free to cast the first stone.

Hisfamily and friends, not football, are now the soul of his dreams. Words of support are only as good as the mettle behind them. And at his sentencing, his friends showed up in force – their presence behind him bellowing louder than the judge’s voice, the clink of chains or any fear for his future.

He’s behind bars now, undoubtedly as many think he deserves. But let’s not forget to forgive.

If his friends are any indication, Robinson will not be forgotten, and in time he’ll no doubt be welcomed back to the university by those whose lives he’s touched for good.

Bottom line: we all make mistakes. But if we can learn from them, even if it hurts, we’ll be that much stronger.

None of us are perfect.

See you soon, Anthony.