Wondering about Kobe Bryant

Mamba and Mambacita Foundation

Kobe BryantGreg, one of the first bloggers I met online, nearly 15 years ago, and the father of two daughters (relevant here, I think) wondered:

I don’t know if I’ve asked you, but how do you reconcile Kobe Bryant’s rather skeevy sex life – and possible raping – with admiring his work with his daughters and girls’ sports in general? So many people seemed to give him a pass on the former when he died while lauding the latter, and I just can’t.

It really annoys me that he quite probably got away with rape because he’s rich, and it simply vanished from his biography except for some minor mentions. His wonderful work with girls’ sports always seemed like an attempt to buy redemption to me. It’s great and I’m glad he did it, but it seemed to work, too.

A reasonable question. First of all, I had to look at the Los Angeles Times article about the case. The piece came out shortly after he died, about a year ago.

“Yet one major off-the-court hit to Bryant’s reputation took place June 30, 2003, in a hotel room at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in the Rocky Mountains town of Edwards, Colo. A 19-year-old woman working as the front-desk clerk accompanied Bryant on a tour of the property. She later went to Bryant’s hotel room, where she said he raped her.

Kobe Bryant, 24 at the time, was charged with one count of felony assault. It took 14 months for the criminal case to be resolved. The accuser decided she would not testify, and prosecutors dropped the case Sept. 1, 2004. A civil suit brought by the accuser in August 2004 was settled out of court on March 2, 2005, marking the end of an often-graphic legal saga that drew worldwide attention but never resulted in a trial.”

There’s a whole bunch of details about the accuser’s loss of resolve, and mistakes by the court system, including her name being released to the media.

“Bryant never spoke publicly about the case after the July 2003 news conference, although he did issue the following statement on the day the criminal case was dismissed.”

Apology

“’First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure.

“’I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colorado. I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman…

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

So I felt that Kobe Bryant took at least some responsibility for his actions. More to your point, I think that the court case, and especially being the father of four daughters, changed him. One sees the inequality and difference of opportunity for girls compared with boys, though it is shrinking.

I’m not sure he wanted to “buy” redemption. In addition to his family foundation, he worked with Make-A-Wish Foundation, and also supported after-school programs, cancer research, efforts to help the homeless, and more . His participation was usually hands-on, not just writing a check.

Just Mercy

I’m also taken by something that lawyer Byran Stevenson wrote in his book  Just Mercy. He notes that “he often had conversations with clients who were struggling and despairing over their situations and the things they had done, or were done to them. These clients would question the value of their lives, and he would remind them that <em>they were more than the worst thing they had ever done.</em>  You can also hire a drug crime lawyers in Festus to fight your case.

“‘If you tell a lie, that does not mean you are just a liar. If you take something that is not yours, that does not mean you are just a thief. Even if you kill someone, you are not just a killer.

“‘Understanding this is helpful not just for those who may be questioning the value of their lives, it is also helpful for all of us. We have all judged someone as a result of something that person has done, but we should not define someone just based on that act.’

“Stevenson notes that we are all broken in one way or another, and understanding our brokenness creates not only a need and desire for mercy but also a corresponding need to show mercy.

“The power of just mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving; it’s when mercy is least expected that it is most potent.” Check out the movie.

I think we all deserve a shot at redemption.

Brock Turner’s crime

“Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.”

stanford-rape-case-brock-turner--400x300When something sucky happens, it’s natural to want to find some semblance of a silver lining. Back in January 2015, Brock Turner, Stanford University student and All-American swimmer, sexually assaulted a young, unconscious woman behind a trash dumpster. And HE portrays HIMSELF as the victim.

“I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school,” writes the former college undergrad. “I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics.”

“Turner blames the sexual assault he committed on a campus culture of excessive alcohol consumption, peer pressure, and ‘sexual promiscuity.'”
Continue reading “Brock Turner’s crime”

March Rambling: a quintillion or a trillion?

Fred Hembeck talks about a compilation of his Marvel work, House of Hem.

Pie-Chart-39
Delayed exoneration of a death row inmate, after 30 years.

9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Grasp (Compared to the Rest of the World).

“The phone rang. It was my college rapist.”

What Happens When Mein Kampf’s Copyright Expires?

Building Equity: Race, Ethnicity, Class and Protected Bike Lanes.

Giving Homes to the Homeless is Cheaper Than Leaving them on the Street.

Man vs. Machine. A guy walks into a bar. He finds a video poker machine – run by the Oregon state lottery – which dealt him a strange hand.

Re: NCAA men’s basketball March Madness, the odds of a perfect bracket? It’s not 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Continue reading “March Rambling: a quintillion or a trillion?”

The Bill Cosby disintegration

The Cosby Show helped to redefine, for a while, what black people on TV were like.

Kennedy Center Honors winner Bill Cosby (1998)
Kennedy Center Honors winner Bill Cosby (1998)
Mark Evanier was right when he wrote: “You can kind of tell Bill Cosby is in serious trouble because the photos of him have all gone from looking like” the Cosby of thirty or forty years ago “to looking like” the 77-year-old man that he is. “Much the same change has occurred in a lot of minds.”

Bill Cosby was someone I looked to, not just because I found him funny. Though Continue reading “The Bill Cosby disintegration”

Equality, rape culture, and the war on women

So, is there a “war on women” when women at war are being raped?

I’ve been think about the rights of women a LOT lately. There are so many examples of what’s wrong – and to be sure a couple that are right – that it’s overwhelmed me. (And it’s taken at least a couple weeks to write this piece.)

In New York State, “The Women’s Equality Agenda will safeguard women’s health, extend protections against sexual harassment in the workplace, help to achieve pay equity, and increase protections against discrimination in employment, housing, credit and lending.” Sounds wonderful, of course. The big hangup for some is over abortion rights, a huge issue.

But I think the conversation about whether there is a “war on women” had been framed too much on abortion and birth control – sometimes reframed by the talking heads, to be sure.

Though there does seem to be a sexual component in all of this. In his review about Fiona Apple’s song Criminal, MDS writes: “Let’s just admit something up front right now Continue reading “Equality, rape culture, and the war on women”