Last week, rapper Meek Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison earlier in the month for violating his parole, which dates back to a conviction for drug dealing and gun possession in 2008. Since then, he has been found in violation of his parole multiple times, leading to varying punishments from jail time to house arrest, all the while adding years to his parole agreement.
It’s an unfortunate story that highlights issues with the specific situation he finds himself in — with regards to strange relationships between himself, the judge, and his parole officer — and the legal system on the whole. The rap community has, unsurprisingly, been very vocal in their support of Meek Mill in the week since his most recent sentencing.
Most notably, Jay-Z has been extremely vocal in speaking out on his feelings towards the “unjust” and “heavy-handed” sentencing for the parole violation. However, the Philadelphia native has found support from his hometown as well, with one of his most notable supporters being 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin.
Prior to Meek Mill’s sentencing, Rubin wrote an impassioned letter to the judge on behalf of the rapper in hopes of keeping him from being sentenced to further prison time, calling Meek one of his closest friends and noting his strong efforts in personal growth and development as well as his positive impact and commitment to the Philadelphia community. The letter, obtained by Sports Illustrated‘s DeAntae Prince, can be read in its entirety here, with a few key excerpts below.
I have also introduced him to many of my friends and business partners, such as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, the owner of the New England Patriots, and my fellow owners of the Sixers — all of whom have similarly been drawn to his positive and inquisitive personality. While he may come from a different world and upbringing than many of us, we all recognize his talent and the impact he can have in the broader community. Our world is too often divided. We need people like Meek that can be the bridge-builders and difference makers to pull people of all walks of life together.
My daughter recently saw news of Meek’s pending hearing online and asked me why such a great guy was experiencing such struggles in life. I explained to her that I recognized Meek did some dumb things in the past and was working hard to make things right. i know that he has taken painkillers without a prescription, found himself in altercations at an airport in Milwaukee, rode recklessly on four-wheelers. But I also know that he is committed to not making such mistakes again. He knows that he is at a pivotal point in his career and that the stakes are high. I want you to know that I am personally invested in helping him so that he can help others.
Please know that I am devoted to his future and to making sure that he accomplishes the goals that you have set forth for him. He not only has a bright future but also a unique opportunity to inspire young men at a time when others are tearing them down. I would hate to see him incarcerated for these violations. I truly believe that such a sentence would destroy his future.
Rubin attempts to point out Meek’s positive qualities with the impact he has in the community and his unique position to inspire those that come from the same difficult background he did. Rubin also notes Meek’s mistakes, but pleads for the judge to offer him a chance to make the positive changes in his life outside of prison walls with the help of friends and mentors like Rubin to keep him on track and allow him to become the outstanding citizen Rubin believes he’s close to being. His closing statement about how another prison sentence would likely “destroy his future” is biting and painful.
The letter was written on November 3, three days prior to Meek’s sentencing. It apparently didn’t sway the judge’s feelings, as a lengthy sentence was handed down, anyway.