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Dont let judgment precede the facts

On Sports
by: , Left: Morrison Right: Dominguez

Go ahead, call me too conservative, overly cautious or just too nice, but I'm not going to be making any snap judgments or pronouncements about the two Portland State University basketball players who were jailed in Mexico for allegedly assaulting another American college student.

Even though the athletic director at PSU seemed to have immediately made up his mind about the guilt of Scott Morrison and Jeremiah Dominguez, I'll wait a little longer.

'We are surprised and disappointed in the actions and poor judgment our student athletes have shown in this situation,' said Torre Chisholm, PSU's director of athletics, on the day the news broke. 'Prior to this, they conducted themselves in a positive manner within our program. I am disheartened to see them put themselves in such a bad position.'

In what position? Being in Mexico? And what poor judgment? Having a beer in Cabo?

Look, it could turn out that these two players did a very horrible thing. In fact, if you made up your mind right away, without hearing the whole story from all concerned parties, they probably looked pretty guilty.

But that's a problem, because we're a long way away from Cabo San Lucas. And we don't know much about what really went on down there. We may never know the real story.

I know this sounds hard to believe, but once in a while people get thrown in jail in another country. With language problems and differences in justice systems from one country to another, it's often not easy to set things straight.

We now know the players are adamant that they were not a part of it. Perhaps it's a case of mistaken identity.

So, what I'm going to do is just wait a little while before dispensing the usual lecture about all the bad things that can happen when 22-year-olds, alcohol, spring break and Mexico get thrown together. But seriously, I've got my own embarrassing stories about Mexico - and don't many of you?

Often, something like this involves alcohol-induced stupidity. Sometimes, it's just naiveté. Once in a while that leads to dangerous situations.

But in situations like this, it's so important not to prejudge without knowing the real story. It's the kind of thing that can damage an innocent person's reputation for the rest of his life.

So let's keep two words in mind as we move forward with quick judgments about Morrison and Dominguez and their innocence or guilt.

Those two words: Duke lacrosse.

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