Athletes do not deserve lighter punishments for crimes

December 9, 2017 — by Leo Cao and Jeffrey Xu

Last month, prosecutors pushed for an extension of the sentence to the prescribed 13 years.

South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius, the so-called blade runner, killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. He was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison, 10 years less than the mandatory penalty.

While judges are permitted to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence if there are compelling reasons in doing so, the Pistorius sentence was no such case.

In 2015, Pistorius was found to be guilty of murder, and his sentence was extended to six years.

Even after 3 years of prison time, the issue is still a controversial one, and prosecutors such as Andrea Johnson still call the sentence “unjust.” She also claimed that Pistorius did not feel true remorse for shooting his girlfriend through a closed toilet door, according to a report by CBS News.

Last month, prosecutors pushed for an extension of the sentence to the prescribed 13 years. This is closer to the punishment he deserves, but it is still light considering the gravity of his crime.

In general, the tendency for famous athletes to get lighter treatment for crimes they commit is all too common. In some cases, professional athletes can cite something called extra-curial punishment in their defense, meaning they have already experienced penalties that come with being in the spotlight. Because of the fact that they are already suffering as a result of the crime they committed, they are able to get a lighter sentence for compensation.

Additionally, if convicted, it is common for athletes to be segregated from the general prison population for their safety, usually leading to better prison conditions.

For example, in 2009, New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of accidentally shooting himself with an unlicensed gun. Upon entering jail, Burress was immediately separated from the regular inmate population and given his own cell. He also received an early release for good behavior.

All in all, it can be said that everyone has his or her own excuse for committing a crime, but most are still sentenced. Athletes like Pistorius deserve the same punishment as anyone else.

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