A little over a month has passed since Murray State sophomore Zay Jackson struck two pedestrians in Walmart’s parking lot with his vehicle following a verbal dispute.
On Oct. 12, Jackson plead guilty to two counts of wanton endangerment. A plea bargain was reached whereby Jackson will spend 30 days in jail on weekends and undertake 30 days of community service in addition to issuing a public apology for the incident.
“He’s a first-time offender, and I think we treated him like we would any other Murray State student who was a first-time offender,” said Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship.
If that’s the case, we find ourselves asking whether or not the average student could get off with such a light sentence for hitting two people with a car.
Call us cynical, but is it really that far-fetched to think Jackson might be being afforded special treatment because he plays basketball for Murray State?
If, say, a student ran over two people with a car and he or she didn’t play basketball, would they get off with two “wanton endangerment” charges, rather than the assault charges initially leveled at Jackson?
Walmart released security camera footage of the incident that is now available for viewing online. Putting aside the issue of special treatment for just a moment, we want everyone to take the time to watch what happened on Sept. 9.
While we may never know what was said between Jackson and the victims, the initial assault charges levied against him seem all the more reasonable after viewing the video.
Beyond that, if Jackson is allowed to continue playing basketball on behalf of our University, what kind of message is that sending to the wider area about Murray State?
Just last year our basketball team garnered national attention for our underdog status in the NCAA tournament and an undefeated streak.
Is this the kind of attention we want to be drawing in at this juncture in Murray State’s history?
Is that the kind of representation that Murray State needs at the NCAA tournament, or even in the Ohio Valley Conference? Is it the kind of representation that we as students need?
Justice is supposed to mean every person – white or black, man or woman, Christian or atheist, gay or straight, old or young, rich or poor – is treated the same in the eyes of the law.
No one should be given special treatment for any reason, and in our case, we just want to be sure that we aren’t obstructing justice for the love of a game. We love basketball just as much as anyone, but justice should come first.
The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.