In the world of sports, it seems there is always a story about an athlete who has gotten in trouble with the law for one reason or another. We see this in the pro and college level about every week. Recently in the news was the story of Bubu Palo, the Iowa State men’s basketball player who was charged with second degree sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting a woman in May. Charges were filed in September, and Palo was also suspended from the basketball team.
Palo and a friend, Spencer Cruise, were charged with sexually assaulting a woman who they gave a ride home to. There have been several rumors to this story as there is any story dealing with athletes. Some reports said instead of taking her home that they took her to an Oakland Drive home owned by Cruise’s family, and asked her to come in. She agreed and then they both committed sex acts by force, complaints said.
Others said that the sexual act was consensual but either way, on this past Monday, the charges were dropped. Palo was suspended from the basketball team for 15 games and wasn’t allowed to practice with the team. He did have the opportunity to use the Cyclone practice facility.
Prosecutors requested that the charges be dismissed because of inconsistencies in the woman’s testimony and problems with some evidence, including a blouse the woman said was torn the night the alleged incident occurred, according to the Aimes Tribune. Both men turned themselves in on felony sexual abuse charges in September and can breath a sigh of relief today.
Palo was also reinstated to the Cyclones basketball team today and can start practicing. He was interviewed last night about the allegations and about them being dismissed. Palo stated, “It’s a great relief,” he said. “One of the things I was looking for once this thing got resolved was getting back to basketball and being with the guys again.” “Having such an important part of my life gone was difficult,” he said. “I can read. I can hear what people said about me. People judged me. People had harsh words for me, but I developed strength.”
Palo, who averaged 4.0 points and 1.5 assists in 13.8 minutes per game last season, sat on the bench Wednesday for the first time all season. So what’s next for Palo? First of all, he will try to get back his life and make sure he isn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a young man who made a mistake and only him, Cruise and the woman knows the whole truth about what happened that night.
Secondly, Palo will be able to play again and make an impact for the Cyclones by his offensive skills. It will take him awhile to get back to being the player from Ames, everyone knows and the young man whose reputation has been tarnished. When asked about the chain of events that led to him being charged last September, he said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” “I’m just glad the truth has finally come out,” Palo added. Hopefully if all goes well, Palo will be able to play against Texas Tech on the 23rd.
This story and others teach us that anyone can be acceptable to hurt and judgment and every young athlete need a mentor in college. If every student athlete would have someone that they could talk to, report to, or visit with about life, it would be harder for them to get into these situations.