Many questions were lingering days after the arrests of multiple members of the men’s basketball team at a historically Black college in suburban Philadelphia. Seven players were taken into custody for various charges related to an alleged robbery Sunday, but there was apparently much more to the story at Lincoln University, according to various reports.
The Philadelphia Tribune reviewed court records to confirm that “Tamir Green, a freshman from Philadelphia; Gevon Arrington, a senior from Chester, Virginia; Zahrion Blue, a freshman from Princeton, New Jersey; Martin Kinsey, a sophomore from Stockbridge, Georgia; Bernard Lightsey Jr., a freshman from Philadelphia; Myles Markland, a senior from Petersburg, Virginia; and Maurice Waters, a sophomore from Philadelphia,” were all arrested on Tuesday. The charges ranged from “conspiring to commit burglary and robbery” to “simple assault, disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person.”
However, other reports said the student-athletes were actually the real victims of a robbery and were only guilty of retrieving their own belongings that had been stolen from them earlier this month.
That may have been the reason that Lincoln not only bailed out the young men but also allowed them to compete the following night. That means none of the students were suspended from the university, let alone the basketball team. The lack of immediate action by the school may provide a glimpse into its line of thinking surrounding the arrests.
One user on social media who identified himself as a Lincoln University alumni posted a thread of tweets that commended Lincoln for standing by its players, whose “rooms were burglarized” first.
That narrative was also offered by a blog that covers college sports, which reported there have been a recent string of robberies on campus.
“Last week the rooms of several players on the women’s and men’s basketball team were broken into and ransacked. Items such as Playstations and wallets were stolen. The players contacted Lincoln University’s Department of Public Safety,” the Black Cager wrote on Thursday. “According to sources, Lincoln Public Safety took over three hours to respond to the reported burglaries. When they did respond, they confronted the student-athletes and interrogated them as if they were suspects and not victims. This interaction left the student-athletes wary of Public Safety’s commitment to protect them and their belongings.”
After one of the players was reportedly able to identify one or more of the alleged thieves, he and his fellow teammates confronted that person or people, the Black Cager wrote. One of the alleged thieves reportedly broke an arm during the confrontation, which was apparently why assault charges were filed against players, prompting police to make the arrests. But the alleged thieves reportedly avoided arrests.
While that scenario wouldn’t fully exonerate the players, it would certainly add some context that has been missing from most of the reports that have already criminalized the students who are, of course, innocent until proven guilty.
ABC News published the school’s brief statement about the arrests.
“In response to alleged thefts among students, an altercation occurred. The group included athletes and a non-athlete,” Lincoln wrote. “The University enacted its student conduct process and subsequently, the students chose to press charges against each other. The University worked with students and their families to post bond and the funds will be returned when the students appear for their hearings in January. The University will continue to work its due process procedures as well as work with local authorities.”
The student-athletes’ preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 8, one day before second semester classes were set to begin for undergraduates.
The student-athletes were allowed to play in their next game, which they won Wednesday night by beating a previously unbeaten Claflin University team to extend the Lions’ winning streak to five contest.