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Why Florida State’s Football Team Took 2 Team Pictures

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook CREDIT: AP PHOTO/KELVIN KUO
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook CREDIT: AP PHOTO/KELVIN KUO

The Florida State University football team took two separate team pictures Sunday: one with starting running back Dalvin Cook, who’s facing assault charges… and one without.

Cook stands accused of punching a woman at a bar last month, just one day before third-string quarterback De’Andre Johnson was caught on film punching a female student in another bar. The woman told ESPN that Cook’s assault resulted in a split in her bottom lip and a sore nose.

Cook was charged on misdemeanor battery in July from the alleged assault and has been indefinitely suspended from the team. His attorney has denied the allegations.

A tweet from Warchant, a website dedicated to FSU sports, reported that two versions of the team photos were taken because Florida State University coach Jimbo Fisher didn’t know how it would work out with Cook’s legal case.

“I remain committed to educating our young men and holding them accountable for their actions,” Fisher said when Johnson was dismissed from the team last month and allegations of Cook’s assault had just surfaced.

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Although some college football programs are cracking down on domestic violence, many school administrators, coaches, fans, and even law enforcement officials have looked the other way in similar cases. That’s, in part, because universities often rely on their major sports teams to be a cash cow. More than 20 percent of universities allow their athletic departments to have oversight of cases involving student athletes, a 2014 report for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight found. And sports teams have a notoriously terrible track record of holding players accountable after they are accused of assault.

In 2013, a state attorney declined to charge then-Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston on sexual assault charges relating to an incident that wasn’t even referred to his office until 11 months after it allegedly occurred.

More recently, the University of Alabama did not dismiss defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor until he was arrested a second time for domestic violence (the University of Georgia had previously kicked out Taylor when he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in a dorm). And at Notre Dame, police didn’t interview the suspect of a sexual assault until two weeks after a freshman, who committed suicide, made a report.