Cultural Revolutions

It Could Have Happened to Anyone

Kobe Bryant, according to heavyweight sociologist Mike Tyson, is a victim of circumstance.  “It could happen to anybody,” Tyson explained.  The ex-champ referred not to filing for bankruptcy, going Muslim, or biting off a piece of an opponent’s ear, but to getting charged with rape—something apparently as random and undiscriminating as getting struck by lightning. 

Bryant seems the opposite of Tyson, whose lifelong barbarism makes me wonder why he was not caged long before his three-year rap.  At 17, Bryant was the NBA’s boy wonder.  At 24, he remains a great player who, at least until the late unpleasantness, projected a clean-cut image (he was a husband and father to boot) that made him a top draft choice for product endorsements.  So, when he was charged in July with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old white concierge at an upscale Colorado hotel, media outlets, former NBA stars, and fans were shocked . . . shocked . . . shocked!

Or were they really?

Based on the media’s mixed messages, it is hard to tell.  On the one hand, some say the charge is baseless because any woman accusing an athlete of rape is probably a scam artist.  Even before Bryant was charged, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly preemptively dismissed it: “A lot of people out there are looking to get something out of famous, rich people. . . . [M]alicious prosecution...

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