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Syracuse Orange: #LetLeQuintPlay is questioning my love for Syracuse

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

When I was a young boy growing up in Bridgeport, NY, Syracuse University – and Syracuse Orange sports – were something that brought me joy. I loved the athletics program even at a young age and as I got older, I’d walk to the Sullivan Free Library to look through their college catalogs to see what Syracuse offered and just fantasize about being a Syracuse student.

Sadly as I got older, my grades were more and more of an issue and my dream of attending Syracuse never came to fruition. But I still loved it from afar even as I lived in other states and countries (I once bought a pair of SU sweatpants that were too big for me in a German PX because it was Cuse).

So I say the following with a heavy heart…I’m disappointed in Syracuse University and its treatment of Syracuse Orange football running back LeQuint Allen Jr. to the point I’m not sure my fandom and admiration can continue unless there is a more practical solution.

I’ve been very blessed in my life to have many great experiences with people at Syracuse University including having Otto at my wedding. But consciously I can’t support them if I feel that their treatment of a student is unfair and excessive.

And in the case of LeQuint Allen, who was set to replace Sean Tucker as the starting running back for Syracuse Orange football in the 2023 season, I feel this could potentially have negative consequences for his life.

I’m questioning my love for the Syracuse Orange.

For those unaware, Syracuse Orange football running back LeQuint Allen is suing Syracuse University for the right to return to school after he was suspended for the summer and fall semesters after a fight in December, as first reported by

A fight in which his side of it was self-defense and to our knowledge, no other individuals involved were punished. In fact, it’s been reported that they told him the actions of others were irrelevant. This is wrong and unjust as is so much of the details of this case. In what world could I punch a human being twice and then when they punch me back, they get charged?

For the record, I am not writing to say there can’t be some form of punishment for his part. However, a young man heard a friend who also happens to be his teammate and possibly mentor from the same area he’s from, was in trouble and stood up for his friend. He didn’t go in swinging and took a couple of punches before he responded and then said the victim threatened to come back with a gun and left with friends.

And for this, a now 19-year-old-sophomore who was assaulted by a 23-year-old man and only swung after being hit could face a harsher punishment than everyone else involved and potentially hurt his college career in the classroom and on the field. So this young man who just recently lost his father in a violent shooting must now go back home for the semester but also find a way to continue his education on his dollar.

I love Syracuse University so much that I wear Syracuse Orange frequently and have incorporated it into my social media presence. I wear Syracuse Orange so often I think it’s why people know who I am and I frequently get it as gifts. But part of why I love it is because I always thought of it as an amazing opportunity to improve the lives of young men and women and I know what I see is a contradiction that I can’t just sit idly by and ignore.

My hope is that cooler heads within the Syracuse University administration see this backlash and understand that a mistake was made and correct it. Find a more fair punishment for the situation and let him further his education and his possible shot at the NFL ensuring a better life for him and his family.

College is about learning and growing and experiencing new things and if a first-time offender who by all accounts is a great guy who does volunteer work in the community as well as defending himself is shown this much “tough love,” you aren’t fixing anything but only making matters worse and also showing the world that the university doesn’t really care about the well-being of its students and not, in fact, ensuring they have a bright future unless you’re perfect.

I don’t know the right answer but I know this is wrong. Give him community service and even some anger management courses/therapy to help him handle situations better and let him further his education without leaving a man behind whose only crime was seeing a friend, mentor and teammate in trouble and wanting to help.

He did not instigate it…he did not swing first…he did not threaten to shoot anyone or threaten further harm to anyone…he simply punched back when punched twice, to which I’d ask you to place yourself in his shoes and ask yourself how you’d handle it. Not just pretend it’s you…I want you to truly think about how many people would react to this situation.

And the administration, I’d ask you to keep in mind this is a young man fighting for his opportunity to make life better for him and those around him and truly ask yourself if this one incident is worth potentially hurting that and the reputation of the school. I’m not advocating violence and I’m not saying what happened was good but I am saying there’s a better way to handle this situation that many of us would have reacted to similarly and still show the proper punishment and life lesson for the young man.

This is not an attempt at blackmail, bullying, or threatening in any way. This is me saying that if you treat your young students who are in situations like this, one in which I bet many others are familiar with as well and you are willing to risk their future then I can’t just ignore it and give my unwavering support and love for the university I thought was created to better lives.

You’re risking damaging a life and livelihood potentially over one mistake that in part was self-defense (especially when it appears he’s the one receiving the harsh punishment while others get off unpunished for worse). How do I look myself in the mirror or better yet go forth on social media using monikers that show my love for SU when I feel people there aren’t showing they genuinely care about the future of students?

I’m not setting a timeline or saying what exactly has to be done but unless I see a more fair solution and also a better way to handle these situations, I won’t suddenly become a fan of an opposing school but I’ll definitely have a hard time caring about SU.

And it will likely make me cry instead of the instant joy I normally get the next time I see that beautiful campus because it will become a reminder of not the image of grandeur I always built up for the university I loved but a beacon of sadness realizing people in charge there are content hurting peoples’ futures over one mistake rather than helping them grow into what a Syracuse University graduate would be.

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