North Texas Daily

Column: Why Khairi Muhammad shouldn’t be a team captain

Column: Why Khairi Muhammad shouldn’t be a team captain

Column: Why Khairi Muhammad shouldn’t be a team captain
August 29
11:00 2019

This past Tuesday afternoon, the Mean Green football program released their five team captains and Leadership Council for the 2019 season. Their group of captains consisted of redshirt senior punter Alvin Kenworthy, senior receiver Michael Lawrence, senior quarterback Mason Fine, senior safety Khairi Muhammad and senior defensive end LaDarius Hamilton. The leadership council consists of 11 players, four of which also serve as captains.

There are two surprises on this list: Kenworthy and Muhammad. Kenworthy’s appearance is only surprising because his presence wasn’t very strong during the 2018 season, but good for him for stepping up and earning the captain’s nod.

However, Muhammad’s presence on the captain’s list is concerning for one glaring reason. In the spring, Muhammad released a video on his Snapchat story of a raccoon being mauled by three dogs in Oklahoma. He could be heard laughing and commenting on the events unfolding, as reported by the North Texas Daily.

Following this event, the athletic department and UNT said that they would use this as a, “teaching moment.”

Evidently, according to the football team assigning Muhammad as a team captain and not suspending him for any games is teaching him a lesson.

Muhammad had the 2018 production to be a captain, for sure. In a crowded secondary that included several defensive backs that graced national leaderboards, Muhammad totaled 67 tackles, four interceptions, five pass breakups, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and quarterback hurry in 13 games. But talent is not the most important factor in choosing a team captain.

For the most, it’s the availability to lead not only directly, but by example. What kind of example is Muhammad setting by actively participating in, supporting and uploading animal abuse? Don’t get me wrong, second chances are important. This past week, a clip of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was posted with him talking about giving players second chances. He talked about when he gave receiver Mushin Muhammad II a second chance following the discovery of a gun in his glove compartment by campus officials. The biggest difference in these two scenarios, however, is that Mushin Muhammad was given a punishment that resulted in a multiple-game suspension. Following his suspension, he played 13 years in the NFL and founded a charity foundation, “The M2 Foundation for Kids.”

If Muhammad ran some gassers and Littrell called it a day, the football program needs a massive overhaul. If Muhammad faced harsher punishment, it should’ve been made public. That’s not only from a public relations perspective, but it’s from a transparency perspective as well. For the younger players on the team, the biggest takeaway from his appointment could be that they can get away with recording a crime.

Bear in mind that instigating animals to fight or kill each other is a felony in the state of Oklahoma, according to Okla. Rev. Stat., tit. 21, § 1685. Muhammad didn’t walk out on a $27 bar tab or possess a bottle of Viagra without a prescription, he was complicit in and filmed a felony for the world to see. Since he plays football for a Divison 1 program, he was able to get away with it. Not only did he get away with it, but he earned a captain’s patch.

UNT’s “teaching moment” taught me one thing — you can get away with anything if you play football on a national stage.

Featured ImageSenior safety Khairi Muhammad speaks at the preseason press conference in the Athletic Center on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard

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Zachary Cottam

Zachary Cottam

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1 Comment

  1. JD
    JD August 29, 16:41

    Maybe the “teaching moment” was taken care of during the summer and Muhammad has really taken care of this issue to Coach Littrell’s and Wren Baker’s satisfaction. I don’t believe they would place him in the position of team captain if they were not completely happy with how he has matured and handled that off the field situation. Everyone deserves a second chance.

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