Starting MU Running Back Turns Himself In
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri's starting running back Derrick Washington turned himself into authorities on Monday and will face a sexual assault charge. Washington faces a Class C Felony charge with a maximum of seven years in prison.
This charge follows an incident back in June allegedly involving a female MU student. Prosecutors say on June 19, Washington sexually assaulted a former MU student at her apartment complex.
A judge issued an order of protection against Washington on June 22. Washington's attorney says his client had no knowledge the woman was seeking protection and that the issue was dismissed.
The charge follows just one day after teammate Beau Brinkley's arrest and one week after Will Ebner's arrest. Both for DWI's.
The link between crime and athletes may seem like a growing trend, but it's not stopping some fans from enjoying the game they love.
"The spirit and the environment as a whole, this is what I love about Mizzou, and I wouldn't change it," said Sophomore Samantha Geary.
Leading the team in rushing yards the last two seasons, the MU running back faced some major opponents on the field. But now, one of Washington's biggest challenges comes from off the field.
"We all make decisions we have to live with. I'm sure there's his side of the story. I'm sure there are two sides of the story," said Junior Luke Estes. "The bottom line is, we're still going to go out there and support the team and watch some good football this year."
As part of university's policy, Coach Gary Pinkel suspended Washington until the courts resolve the matter. But, despite the loss of the senior captain, many fans believe the accusations against Washington won't hurt the spirit of the game.
"I came here for a reason, and one person isn't going to change my opinion on the football game or the campus," said Geary.
"I'll definitely still be there to cheer on Mizzou," said Sophomore Tanner Fagan. "We have plenty of good players on the team."
"Being an athlete, you're always going to have the spotlight on you, but we need to remember these are still just college kids playing college ball," said Estes. "Any kind of decision we make is magnified good or bad."
Even during the teams disappointing moments, the fans are looking at the positive.
"I want to look at the new guys. I want to see what's up and coming," said Fagan.
Washington's arraignment is set for September 23.