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BASKET-NBA-KNICKS MEDIA DAY

Derrick Rose does not have to pay an unnamed woman $21.5 million in damages after a Los Angeles jury found him not liable the civil case that accused the NBA star and two of his friends of rape. The jury reportedly reached verdict in just under four hours.

Rose’s attorney Mark Baute spoke on behalf of Rose, and indicted the media for biased reporting.

“All the reporting was biased, we’re just very relieved that the system worked. We had a jury of seven White people and one Hispanic who exonerated three Black men, it was fantastic. The system worked. We will not release the victim’s name because of the rape shield laws, because we believe in that policy.” – Mark Baute

 

There is still an open criminal investigation against Rose. The LAPD began looking into the claims after the civil case became public. A detective on the criminal case committed suicide last week, but according to reports “there is no indication that her case work had any connection to her death.”

Jurors told reporters they did not find the victim credible. Some even took pictures with Rose after the trial.

The verdict makes it more likely the criminal charges won’t stick, but the damage has already been done to Rose’s name in the court of public opinion and to his stock as a celebrity endorser. Similar cases revealing personal details about athletes Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and, most recently, filmmaker Nate Parker had an immediate impact on their marketability.

“It was important to prove I did not do what I was accused of, even if it meant publicly sharing very private details about my personal life,” he said. “I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me. This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career.”

Rose seems to have come out of this situation cleaner than many others. But the lingering disgust many had with his “we men” comments from the deposition may stick to some citizens memories. Still it must be noted, everyone with close knowledge of the case seems to believe he is completely innocent. Even the judge joked with him about basketball saying, “Best wishes, except when the Knicks play the Lakers.” Would the judge and jury be that insensitive if the victim’s claims were legitimate?

After scolding the media for its racial bias, Rose’s lawyer asked if anyone had any substantive questions? I do.

  1. I’m glad to hear that Pooh is not guilty of what he was accused of. But how can we prevent this from happening in the future?

2. How can we educate young men on consent so that they do not risk their freedom and careers by getting into situations like this?

3. How can we use this moment to address the real cases of rape that are severely under reported and prosecuted?

4. Right now it’s harder for people to talk about than racism. Can we elevate the way we discuss rape?

Labels like rapist and rape culture are scary because of the buttons they push. But we should be able to talk about these things without getting too worked up to find solutions. I saw the podcaster @Taxstone get jumped by a gang of Black Twitter Feminists last week for trying to ask some questions about rape culture. Thankfully, it ended in a meaningful discussion. One that needs to be had by parents with their children.

We can’t get anywhere if we can’t ask questions. I get the anonymity for the victim, but why not the accused? And why, legally, do we still refer to Rose’s accuser as the victim if he is not guilty? Why is the system built to shame the accused in the court of public opinion but not to get justice for millions of legitimate victims everyday?

But that’s the problem with racism, rape culture and pretty much every other societal dysfunction: we can’t get over them because we can’t talk about them. Can anyone answer these #LegitQuestions about rape culture for me? And if you’re interested in acting  against rape culture, consider donating to end the backlog of rape kits with DNA evidence here.

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