the kobe bryant case: everyone's a loser
The New York Post - as well as hundreds of other media outlets - reports that a web site has divulged the name and address, as well as photos, of the woman who has accused Kobe Bryant of rape.
Though none of those outlets gave the URL of the site, it wasn't that hard to track down.
I have no deep thoughts on whether Bryant is innocent or guilty. The only people right now who know the answer to that are Kobe and the woman.
However, the circus that has evolved out of this case is beyond disgusting. From Bryant's fans on the website in question, who all but cheer the alleged rape in the comments, to the accuser's "friends" who have been flashing their smiles all over television, everything about this case just serves to highlight what is wrong with sports, the media and the way we treat professional athletes.
I've seen the friends, and I'm sure you have as well. You can't miss them. They've been on every major news channel talking up the accuser and one can't help but feel that this is all one big photo-op for them and their friend's plight has become second string to the publicity they are garnering. It creeps me out to see these young girls smiling for the cameras and throwing out sound bites like they've been coached by a Hollywood agent. I get the distinct feeling that these young women, when the cameras are turned off, are giggling and plotting and planning their way onto a casting couch or, at the very least, a paid guest shot on some MTV tell-all documentary.
On the other side, we have Bryant's rabid fans, eager to spread the name and address of an alleged rape victim around, all but throwing her to the wolves. They have gone above and beyond in digging up any fraction of "dirt" they could find on the woman, from drug overdoses to past relationships, to claiming that she deserved to be raped and, in fact, enjoyed it.
It's become a case of not only he said/she said, but of they said.
This is an unfortunate by product of putting athletes on pedestals and making them role models. You want to believe they can do no wrong. They are young and rich and handsome and famous and all of that becomes a Superman costume, where bullets bounce of them and they can leap tall accusations in a single bound. How desperate are we to want our heroes and role models and celebrities to be perfect that we refuse to accept they can do wrong?
How deranged is our society when a woman accuses someone of rape and thousands of people get out their Encylopedia Brown, Boy Detective kits and scour the internet for dirt on the accuser?
No matter what the outcome of this case - whether Bryant is guilty of rape or the woman is guilty of manufacturing the whole thing as some warped way of becoming famous - the jury is in on one aspect already; the media is guilty of aiding and abetting the degradation of society.
If every single reporter available wasn't running after the friends of the accusers with microphones and exclusive interview contracts, if Bryant wasn't made out to be some kind of superhero, if the accuser didn't have her entire past dragged out before her in black and white, we wouldn't have this three-ring circus that's playing out like a disgusting, depraved version of American Idol, where the interviews on local news are the auditions and the spot on Larry King is the prize.
While the outcome of this case will be decided by a judge and jury, it's pretty evident that everyone has already lost.