Officials in the town of Steubenville, Ohio say they plan on granting two football players convicted of rape and sentenced to prison weekend passes out of jail during football season.
The passes will allow the two high schoolers to compete on their city's famed Big Red football team despite the fact they'll be behind bars.
This morning on the steps of Steubenville City Hall, officials from the Mayor's Office, police, and county jail announced the plan and promised the town's citizens that their beloved football team would not be affected by the verdict.
"These two young gentleman have been convicted of a terrible crime, no question," said Mayor Domenick Mucci Jr. "But the bigger crime has been committed against our town's proud tradition of winning high school football.
"Depriving Steubenville High of its star players ahead of a possible championship season is an act of unconscionable cruelty. That's why we've arranged with the local jail to have these young men continue to play for Big Red Football while serving their sentences."
Reaction to the move within the tight-knit town has been overwhelmingly positive, although some worry that weekend passes aren't sufficient to properly maintain the team's greatness.
"Personally, I don't think this goes far enough," says Herb Anderson, a 63-year-old retired autoworker. "Sure they can play in the games, but what about practice? Practice is just as important as the games. They need to be let out daily from 3 to 6 for practices."
Mary Wojenski, a waitress, agrees that more needs to be done to ease the pain and suffering of the rapists.
"I was shocked when I heard they were only granted weekend passes," she says. "I mean, seriously? Jail has suddenly become more important than Big Red football? I can't think of anything more important than winning a local high school football game. Can you?"
Outsiders, however, have blasted the town's plan, saying it gives special privileges to two violent offenders who should be treated like any other convicted rapists.
Several national anti-sexual violence groups have denounced the decision, saying the weekend passes make a mockery of the criminal justice system.
One exception to the resoundingly negative tone of outside reaction has been Penn State University, which released a statement saying it fully supported Steubenville's move.
"Finally, America has produced a high school that has its priorities straight. We're excited to see rape cover-up and mitigation is alive and well at the high school level, and are looking forward to recruiting heavily from Steubenville High in the years to come."
As some readers have pointed out, this article is SATIRE. It is not meant to be a factual article. Thank you.