Monday, August 3, 2009

"Big Ben vs. Kobe? Does Race Matter?"

I follow Dr. Boyce Watkin's column pretty regularly so I was glad to see he touched on this topic. This essentially touches on whether or not the media treats athletes, that may have had similiar allegations, differently based on the color of the their skin. I could certaintly write an article on this myself, but I'm glad Dr. Watkins took the liberty to do it. There is no doubt in my mind that the media (particularly ESPN)picks and chooses who they want to cover more, and more times than not, their (negative) media coverage centers on the cases of black athletes. When the accusations of rape first came out against Kobe, a nation that formely labeled him "the next Jordan" was quick to push him under the bus, despite the fact that "all men are innocent until proven guilty." When the accusations came out against Ben Roethlisberger, it took ESPN about two days to mention it, and when they did and it was a small news bit and hardly ever discussed again. They didn't mention the fact that this might ruin his reputation (maybe because they have the power to do so by increasing their coverage on him, because, ESPN really is the ONLY option for sports coverage nowadays). I'm convinced that ESPN and other media outlets wanted to protect Ben Roethlisberger. The evidence of that may be that many of you don't know that much about the case OR the fact that you know a brunt of your information about it because you read it online, or were informed of it on twitter (like myself). Well, enough of my rambling, here is what Dr. Watkin's had to say:

In a civil lawsuit, Andrea McNulty accuses "Big Ben" of engaging in some disturbing activities. She claims that Ben forced himself on her sexually when she went into his hotel room to check on a broken television set. All of this allegedly took place in Vegas and of course Ben is denying it. I am not sure if he did it or not, since I've never wanted to know much about Ben Roethlisberger's sex life.

Ben's situation is similar to the disturbing allegations made against NBA star Kobe Bryant in the summer of 2003. Kobe's case was not much different from Ben's, in which Kobe was also accused of doing some pretty unacceptable things.

Both cases have their shaky points. For Kobe, there was the evidence that the alleged victim spent a lot of "quality time" (sexually) with other men during the same week she was allegedly raped by Mr. Bryant. This doesn't mean that she couldn't have been raped, but it certainly hurt her case in the eyes of the American public. In Ben's situation, the woman waited nearly a year to file a civil suit against him. Not a criminal suit; a civil one. Whether she was raped or not, she has decided that she definitely wants to get paid.

Again, wanting to get paid doesn't imply that you can't be raped, but similar to Kobe's accuser, Andrea McNulty's request for cash has weakened her case in the eyes of those trying to sort out the facts. Fortunately, the public doesn't decide rape cases, since there is enough bias in favor of high profile athletes. Simultaneously, there are many people in the world wishing to take advantage of athletes, as false rape charges are all too common.

What is also interesting about these two seemingly similar situations, is that while Kobe's case was all over the news for several days in a row, the world has heard barely a peep about the case of Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, I've seen it mentioned in the news here and there, but there hasn't been the sort of brain-drain hyperanalysis which took place during the Kobe Bryant fiasco or in the case of Michael Vick. Why would that be?

Read the rest HERE.

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