The Renegade Rip

Kobe case unfair to victim

Daniella Williams

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As I sit at my laptop downloading music, the bane of every computer user’s existence appears. It is yet another pop-up ad. But this is one that actually interests me. This one is about Kobe Bryant.

The ad features large-breasted women of questionable morals chasing Bryant while clutching lawsuits in their grubby little hands, illustrates just what has been bugging me about the entire circus surrounding the Laker guard. The general assumption is that he’s the good guy, wearing the white hat, and the woman involved in the case is the town “lady of ill repute,” which isn’t fair to the accused.

According to the ad, we all need to “Save Kobe: He’s got women after him.” In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, Kobe Bryant is a basketball superstar. And if you’ve been under said rock for the past few months, Bryant also is being charged with felony sexual assault.

On July 4, the proverbial kitty litter hit the fan. A 19-year-old Colorado hotel concierge accused 24-year-old Bryant of sexually assaulting her during his stay at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera on June 30. According to Bryant, he “did not assault the woman who is accusing me. I made the mistake of adultery.”

As soon as you can say “tabloid wet dream,” the story was global.

This situation does, of course, intrigue my inner feminist. Even before any facts came out, the woman was labeled a money-grubbing slut and her character was called into question. I’m not into burning my bra, but this strikes me as unfair. Is it because Bryant is an athlete that it is assumed he’s innocent?

Athletes seem to be elevated to superhuman status. The Smoking Gun Web site has posted several letters from fans of Bryant have sent to Judge Frederick Gannett, the judge who is presiding over the case. One of the more colorful selections is penned by a man calling himself the “Black Messiah,” who promises that extreme misfortune will befall Colorado if Bryant is convicted, then launches into an expletive-filled rant directed at the alleged victim. After the accuser’s name, address and phone number were made available for a short time online, Iowa resident John Roche allegedly made a death threat to the woman and was arrested, according to The Associated Press.

This degree of fervor is typical of his fans, but the sentiment seems to be a common one. With the preliminary hearing set for Oct. 9, not much is known about the woman, her relationship with Bryant or what happened in his hotel room.

It’s easy to forget that this alleged crime concerns two real people whose lives may never recover from media and Web speculation. My hope is that we hold off pre-judging either party, and let our justice system do its job.

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Kobe case unfair to victim