Darius Paul Q&A
Basketball beat writer Marcus Jackson is chatting today. Submit questions of any kind — Darius Paul's future, next season's schedule, the Class of 2016 — by clicking here.
An early question/answer:
Marcus, thanks for all your work. I will put this directly to you. As (1) a relatively recent college student, (2) former college athlete, (3) African-American, (4) college basketball sportswriter, and (5) Champaign resident, you have a unique perspective into the recent arrest and the subsequent firestorm. There is no one with your vantage. I know you weren't there, but I would be very interested to hear whatever thoughts you are comfortable sharing regarding the facts and subsequent developments.
Great question, I appreciate you asking.
The only things I know about the situation involving Darius Paul are those Mary Schenck had in her report yesterday, so I'm not sure we know 100 percent of what happened.
Personally, I have never been approached or questioned by police while walking around Champaign late after a night of drinking. I've walked by police in those situations and I have never been bothered.
I will share a quick story from college. Some friends, a few teammates included, and I were out late, had been drinking and were on an area of campus we shouldn't have been. You could say we looked suspicious. So some campus police shined their lights on us. A few of them ran. Myself and another person did not. For some reason, in that instant I just knew that wasn't the wise move. The officers asked what we were doing, why we were there. We didn't really have any good reason and told them as much. They asked if we had been drinking. We said yes. We were honest with them and they let us go.
That's my experience in a similar situation. It doesn't always go down like that and with so many stories in recent years of young black men being harrassed unnecessarily by police, I can understand the fear and mistrust some have in dealing with authorities. I've been lucky that hasn't been my experience.
Hope that helps somewhat in what you were asking.