Wednesday, September 01, 2004

He shoots, no one scores

So the prosecutors are dropping the Kobe Bryant case. No surprise. The only real shocker is that they dragged the thing out this long before deciding that their case was a non-starter.

I don't know what happened in that hotel room between Bryant and the young woman who brought the allegation originally, other than that both parties appear to agree that sexual relations of some fashion took place. I have no clue whether Bryant is a vicious misogynist who forced himself on the girl, or whether she's a cold-blooded gold digger who saw an opportunity to cash in on a momentary assignation with a celebrity. I wasn't in the room when it happened — no matter what either of them may tell you — and the only people who were there present different accounts of the events. The physical evidence, apparently, is inconclusive as to the issue of forcible assault.

But here's what I do know: were the man involved not Kobe Bryant, star forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, the whole matter would have proceeded quite differently. Most likely, he'd be in the hoosegow already, for one thing, whether guilty or innocent — in a he said/she said where no one disputes the act, only the consensuality, tie goes to the accuser. Especially if the accuser is fair-skinned and blonde, and the accused is...well...not. (If you doubt that, I know nine fellows from Scottsboro, Alabama with whom you should chat.) And whatever the outcome, you and I, who don't live in the tiny mountain hamlet of Eagle, Colorado, would never have heard about it.

As I said, I don't know what happened. I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the two tales told by the participants, and I've no way of knowing to which it's closer. No matter who did or didn't do what to whom, it's Mrs. Bryant who was the real victim here, because even if her husband didn't rape the young woman, he did in fact do something else with her that he ought not to have done with a person not his wife. All the diamond rings on Rodeo Drive won't make that go away.

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