Athletes do what they want

By Abigail Keefe
November 20, 2003


It’s been touched on briefly before: Athletic exemption. On college campuses, it’s to leave class early for practice. But, in the larger sports world, does that exception refer to criminal charges?

The debate about the Kobe Bryant rape case is that he’ll walk. The circumstantial evidence against him won’t hold up in court. The remorse-filled confession/apology about sleeping with the victim will be enough to clear him of the ghastly charge of sexual assault. His wife will forgive him, especially after he splurged on a $4 million ‘I’m sorry’ ring. The over-whelming evidence that the victim was indeed sexually active before and after the alleged rape will make Bryant a free man.

But what if one made the case that it isn’t just Bryant’s high-powered lawyer Pamela Mackey and her pit-bull approach to the case-having ardently locked her chompers around the victim’s story and ripped nearly all of it’s credibility to shreds-that will clear the Lakers star of all of the charges filed against him?

The question I’m tip-toeing around is: Will Bryant get off scot-free because he is an athlete? A black male athlete at that, like so many in the hot-seat before him. Will this be some sort of perk for playing so well with the Lakers?

My answer: Nope.

The incident happened in Colorado, a rural part known as Eagle, Colo., to be exact. Not too many black men frequent the resort where Bryant nursed a knee injury. I bring this into the picture to point out that Bryant is out-numbered. He will not stand trial amongst ‘a jury of his peers,’ but a back-water community with very little contact with minorities and an obsolete approach to race issues. And yes his race is a factor as well as the fact that the victim is a white woman. Now I could be dead wrong and the jury could give him a fair and accurate trial, but that’s not in the nature of small, rural towns. Bias usually runs the court.

Too cynical? Maybe. Utterly preposterous? Nope. This small-town jury will decide Bryant’s fate, whether his career as a Lakers player will live or die. They may not have even heard of Bryant.

And so I’ll refute the athlete angle with this argument: Bryant will escape jail time due to evidence and not stature. One, the townspeople, biased as they may be, don’t know Bryant, the athlete. How can the jury judge on an area in which they lack expertise? The rulings will more-than-likely rest heavily on his character and not his B-Ball skills. Two, the evidence is piled high against the victim. Native-born to Colorado as she is, no one can refute the conflict of interest that the next-day-semen samples present. If she was that distraught after the incident with Bryant, why sleep with another guy the very next day? Three, Bryant’s race will not get him off; in fact being African American may taint the jury’s final verdict (Key word being ‘may’).

I, for one, think Bryant is innocent. Not because I want him to be innocent or hold him at any high regard (I really can’t stand the man) but because of evidence. Hard evidence that will leave his reputation tarnished but never-the-less clear him of the charges of sexual assault. If I’m wrong, sue me.

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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