To what extent do we separate what athletes do on the court and off the court?
Professional athletes and celebrities do seem to have it harder because they are constantly in the limelight, being photographed when they go out, and seem to have those of the opposite sex chasing after them — AKA groupies — for their money or status.
We’ve seen it happen in August 2014 with Ray Rice. Remember him? That NFL player that knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator and dragged her limp body out by her shoulders. The world was shocked, disgusted and righteously so, his image was ruined and the Baltimore Ravens cut him. It was assault, plain and simple. And it was not okay. Rice was arrested.
Ray Rice was suspended for two games after a press conference with the NFL. But it was not until August 28th, 2014 that the NFL admitted that they didn’t get it right by just suspending Rice for two games, which they followed up with announcing a new domestic violence policy. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner said he took “responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values,” ending with mentioning that as a league, they will “do better.”
Although it wasn’t until September 8th, which was the day that TMZ released video of Rice knocking his wife unconscious, that the Ravens terminated the running back’s contract — indefinitely.
The NBA as a league is no rookie to charges or assaults. Since 1994 to this current year, there have been way too many cases against NBA players for me to count or list.
I know you remember that time a 19-year-old concierge accused Los Angeles Laker legend Kobe Bryant of raping her back in 2003.
It was a media frenzy, a circus. Arrest warrants were issued, followed by charges being filled. Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest and most respected to play the game’s image was slowly deteriorating right before him.
He was 24. He did admit to cheating on his wife, Vanessa Bryant, who gave birth to their second daughter just six months prior, by having sex with the concierge. Everything seemed to line up. However, the case was eventually dismissed after the accuser refused to testify following inconsistencies in her story.
Bryant didn’t receive any fines or suspensions, community service or anything. Once the trial was done, he was able to put back on that purple and gold jersey that everyone loved to watch.
Was his image ruined? Of course. Just because he was allowed to play again and the charges were dropped, did not mean basketball fans weren’t looking at him differently or shouting in the stadium, referring to him as a “rapist”.
What’s really upsetting, besides the image repair Kobe had to endure, is the legacy that this rape case left behind. One of victim blaming and media sensationalism.
How would any other female that wanted to come forward about being raped by an NBA player be taken seriously after this?
In a double-standard society where women are always doubted, and told sexual assault is their fault because, hey, maybe they should have worn a longer skirt – the ripple effects of that publicized rape case made it that much harder for any women who was taken advantage of.
Here we are, 13 years later with another charge of rape issued to an NBA player: Derrick Rose. He’s known best for playing with the Chicago Bulls then tearing his ACLs, which was so unfortunate because he was really blossoming into an outstanding player.
The victim? A 30-year-old college student from Mexico, who identifies herself as “Jane Doe,” which is common for a case covered by the tabloids. She brought out a lawsuit accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two others, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen of gang rape, seeking US$21.5 million.
Rose’s attorneys want her name made public, believing it will help expose her as a fraud, as well as her previous history of posting ‘sexual’ pictures online. This, however, does not mean she was more likely to experience what she did and is not justifiable. Doe’s lawyer asked Rose during his June 17th deposition if he had an understanding as to what the word consent meant. In that segment that was read aloud to reporters on the call, Derrick Rose responded with: “No, but can you tell me?”
Rose’s attorney Mark D. Baute told a reporter that: “Mr. Rose is confident that the evidence of plaintiff’s consent will be clear once all the facts are heard. The plaintiff consented to sex each and every time they had sex during their twenty-month relationship, including on the night that is the focus of this lawsuit.”
When looking at texts sent between the victim and defendant that night, Rose’s testimony seemed frightening and aggressive. Jane Doe claims she was unconscious when Rose and his friends arrived by texts and calls, and woke up the next morning with her dress up to her neck, feeling that “something really bad happened.” The night before came back to her in flashes.
The trial’s scheduled to start on October 4, which is also Rose’s 28th birthday and coincides with the early part of the NBA preseason. Next week, a judge will decide whether or not the woman who is suing Rose can use a Jane Doe identity during the actual trial.
As messy as Rose’s pre-trial testimonies were themselves, it’s remembered that Derrick Rose was traded from the Bulls to the Knicks. The New York Knicks’ president Phil Jackson brought Rose in with plans to rebuild the franchise that was crumbling in the city that never sleeps. What’s odd is that Phil Jackson was ‘aware’ of Derrick Rose’s rape lawsuit before the trade was finalized, and still brought him over. No investigation was conducted. When asked personally why they didn’t investigate the lawsuit, Jackson responded with: “investigation is a big word.”
People online also find it shady that several lawyers dropped this case with Jane Doe before, which results in many people doubting that she is telling the truth.
What I want to know is, what will the NBA commissioners do about this? What if Derrick Rose is found guilty?
Sometimes athletes and celebrities give off the impression that they feel like they are above the law, and can get away with these things.
Back in February 2002, the NBA suspended then Utah Jazz shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson for 3 games after pleading no contest to statutory rape. He played all the way until 2013, last with the Atlanta Hawks.
Then there was shooting guard Ruben Patterson of the Seattle SuperSonics, who for the first five games of the 2001 season was convicted of a sexual offense. He entered a modified guilty plea to a charge of attempted rape of his child’s nanny and was sentenced to one year in prison. The crazy part? He was only suspended for fifteen days and had to complete two years of probation. Patterson got to play with five other NBA teams before ending his career overseas in Lebanon. If he wanted to establish legal residency in majority of the states in America, he would have to register himself as a sex offender. And I will reiterate, he only was suspended from the league for fifteen days. That’s typically eight games that he missed. He was still able to play in the other 74 regular season games. Yet, he has to register himself as a sex offender.
This is the ultimate unchosen self-sacrifice. The league must show others that there is zero tolerance for rape and assault, or even worse, not understanding the concept of consent.