With the 2016-17 NBA season starting up tonight, Derrick Rose is able to do what he really wants to: focus on basketball.
Rose and 2 friends, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen have been on trial for the past couple of weeks for allegedly gang raping a woman who went by Jane Doe to protect her identity in court and press. This woman dated Rose for 20 months on-and-off back in 2013.
The jury found Rose not liable on all three claims made by Doe — trespassing, sexual battery and battery.
I will reiterate: he was found not liable; not, not guilty.
But what does that mean?
There are differences in civil and criminal court. You have different laws, a different court system, and different burdens of proof. In order to convict in the criminal court, the case against the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and committed an offence against the state, even though there may have been a specific individual who was the victim of the crime. Civil law deals with disputes between private parties or negligent acts that cause harm to others.
A civil jury does not decide whether the defendant is “guilty” or “innocent,” but whether or not he or she is liable, and if so, to what degree.
He also did not face the criminal charge of rape.
Jurors can only impose liability if they collectively believe that the defendant is probably liable to the plaintiff. This jury found Doe’s depiction of facts less believable than the account offered by Rose and his two co-defendants, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton.
Unfortunately the accuser, she had many defects in her testimonies, where she admitted to exaggeration about her relationship with the 28-year-old NBA player.
And of course, when jurors see that a witness has not been completely truthful, it undermines her entire testimony.
After three short hours of deliberation, the jury reached a not liable verdict in Rose’s civil rape lawsuit.
Jane Doe can appeal the judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This appeal would take many months to play out, and she would have to have a stronger argument than the “jury got it wrong.” However, an appeal would not require the active participation of Doe or Rose, just the attorneys from both sides.
Not only this, but a spokesperson for the LAPD told the Daily News on Monday that its criminal investigation remains open and ongoing. For whatever reason, the LAPD has not closed the case against Rose.
Morally, Rose was a poor witness. Pre-trial, he was unable to define the key term of this trial: consent.
That wasn’t the only messy part of what happened in court.
As text messages and cellphone history were the foundations of solid evidence, in this case, they proved to remind us all that the semantics of words are really important, and can be taken out of context when you aren’t careful.
Jane Doe had two “friends” that were crucial when it came to the final verdict.
First, there was Keyana LaVergne, who was Doe’s former roommate. She released their text message thread to a popular all-things-basketball website called BallerAlert.com a year ago — which have since been deleted, but screenshots live forever.
The texts proved to show Doe apologizing for suing Rose and admitting that she was only doing it because she was desperate for money for rent and to cure a roach problem in their living space.
But in court, Doe said those texts had nothing to do with the Derrick Rose lawsuit.
In the texts, you can see the accuser discussed her financial problems, being unable to find work, and how she “could not let this lawsuit go because of this.”
LaVergne isn’t the only one who turned against Doe during this somber time. Gabriela Chavez, who in Doe’s original complaint was stated as a “sex therapist who traveled with (Doe) to help her become more comfortable with sex and especially oral sex as Rose had requested but never received oral sex from.” Chavez characterized their relationship differently: “party friend” who is familiar not only with the party scene but also with ecstasy.
But Chavez claimed she was partying with Doe in Vegas weeks after the assault where she bluntly asked Doe if Rose had raped her. Doe said no, and admitted that she did sleep with all three men.
This evidence seems like a deal breaker, the end all be all. Her own “friends” turning against her in her time of need should have said enough. And it definitely played a major role when it came to the final verdict.
Michael Monico, the lawyer for Rose’s pals said “this is a case about money and manipulation. There was no gang rape. There was no rape at all” in his opening statement.
When the lawsuit was filed, Rose said, “I know the truth, and am confident I will be proven innocent.” New York Knicks manager Phil Jackson also said he didn’t consider the rape charge when bringing Rose over from Chicago to New York.
As this triggers “moral clauses,” D. Rose could potentially lose his endorsement with Adidas. Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner could suspend Rose under Article 35 of the NBA’s constitution: “conduct that does not conform to standards of morality or fair play, that does not comply at all times with all federal, state, and local laws or that is prejudicial or detrimental to the NBA.”
But, he was found not liable.
Derrick Rose is relieved and excited, and he says going through his trial would change anyone and being on court is ‘like heaven.’
And this has been the longest the three-time All-Star has been healthy for four years. Knicks doctors have been keeping a close eye on Rose, “just knowing that what I went through with the trial and everything. Hormones. Stress hormones and all that,” he said. “So they said they’re watching me close. And try not to go out there and go too crazy the minutes that I’m out there.”
While he gets to return to his sanctuary, Jane Doe is left with too much emotional distress to handle.
She will remember the final moment of court where after she lost the case, the man who won posed for pictures with the jury.
It was a chilling argument. Three men went into her home and took turns raping her. A woman’s word should be her word.
Now when it comes to athletes in the NBA and rape, there will be the ghost memory of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. Both males falsely accused under the law.
There’s a pattern here in the way alleged sexual assault victims are portrayed, particularly when famous athletes are involved.
Did she want to hide behind the pseudonym in order to seek millions and damage a mans reputation whom she was in a long-term, consensual sexual relationship with? Was it a huge misunderstanding?
Is this media sensationalism teaching women not to come forward? That there is no point, especially when it comes to an athlete with a reputation and money in the bank?
According to thinkprogress.org, 68% of rapes are never reported to the police.
Derrick Rose is cleared of all charges in the rape trial, and will be able to return to the Knicks in time for the first game of the season, and first time in a New York jersey tonight against the reigning champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers tipping off at 7:30pm.