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Being an athlete = not guilty

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  • Being an athlete = not guilty

    I didn't realize that Jack Givens had been tried for sex crimes involving a teenager:

    Outcome never in doubt when a star is on trial
    Mike Bianchi

    SPORTS COMMENTARY

    September 23, 2005

    The teenage girl couldn't believe the verdict.

    Her family and friends were angry and shocked.

    They shouldn't have been.

    On the day the jury began deliberating on whether former NBA player and Magic TV analyst Jack "Goose" Givens was guilty of four sex crimes involving a teenage girl, a respected trial attorney in town just rolled his eyes when I asked him to predict the verdict.

    "This is a slam dunk," the attorney said with supreme confidence. "The celebrity never loses. Never."

    Sure enough, a few hours later, Givens was acquitted on all four charges and walked out of the courtroom a free man. And the teenage girl ran from the courtroom in tears.

    This isn't a criticism of the jury members who acquitted Givens; it's meant as cynicism toward a legal system where you just knew they would. The only thing more certain than Kobe Bryant stepping to the line and making a free throw is a team of high-priced attorneys stepping to the lectern and making Kobe a free man.

    Doesn't matter what era you played in or what team you played on, sports stars are even more pampered in the courthouse than they are in the clubhouse. One of the NFL's all-time greats (O.J. Simpson) was tried for murder and one of the NFL's current greats (Ray Lewis) was accused of murder. Both are now freer than the olive loaf samples given out at the Publix deli.

    Each legal case may be different, but there is one glaring similarity: Accused athletes and former athletes have given us the closest thing we've seen to the undefeated season since the '72 Dolphins. Simpson, Bryant, Mark Chmura, Kirby Puckett, Jayson Williams -- they all walked away from murder, manslaughter or sexual assault charges. The most notable exception is Mike Tyson, who is such a human train wreck that there was no choice but for a jury to find him guilty of rape several years ago.

    Statistics show that athletes are convicted at a much lower rate than the national average. According to a USA Today study during the Kobe trial, prominent athletes are much less likely to be convicted of sexual assault than the average citizen. How's this for an eye-opening statistic: 66 percent of the general population is convicted when charged with sexual assault; 67 percent of prominent athletes are exonerated in sexual assaults.

    It's become quite obvious that if you are a sports figure, you have an excellent chance of being acquitted by a jury of your fans, er, peers. Then again, it's not just wide-eyed jurors who are star-struck when in the presence of a famous athlete. Remember when Barry Bonds showed up in court to have his child support and alimony payments reduced? The judge not only complied with the request, he asked for Bonds' autograph.

    "I don't know the statistics, but when you look around the country it sure seems to be harder to convict athletes," admitted Willie Meggs, the assistant state attorney in Tallahassee who has tried several Florida State football players and has, for the most part, been skunked like the Duke Blue Devils.

    Asked why athletes seem to get off at a much higher rate than the average citizen, Meggs answered with a question. "Why do we pay the president less than a million dollars a year, but we pay $13 million a year to a baseball player who hits .333 and fails to get a hit two-thirds of a time?" Meggs asked.

    After thinking momentarily, I answered his question: "Is it because we idolize star athletes even more than we do the leader of our country?"

    Meggs chuckled.

    "Either that," he said, "or we're just stupid."

    Mike Bianchi can be reached at [email protected].
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

  • #2
    QUOTE
    How's this for an eye-opening statistic: 66 percent of the general population is convicted when charged with sexual assault; 67 percent of prominent athletes are exonerated in sexual assaults.[/b][/quote]

    That is a nice stat, but does it take into account that "probably" more athletes get phony charges brought against them looking for a payday?
    And do you think it might also be because they are rich and can afford better layers?
    I'd like to see the same stats, but also have a column for "rich people", my guess is they get off at a much higher rate too.
    Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good ole Yaks. Always to the defense of the celebrities.

      Rightly or wrongly.

      Comment


      • #4
        QUOTE(Iowa_Card @ Sep 23 2005, 02:13 PM) Quoted post

        Good ole Yaks. Always to the defense of the celebrities.

        Rightly or wrongly.
        [/b][/quote]

        I am not defending anyone........

        I am just saying I am not sure that "stat" really takes into account the things that get you off at trial.
        I am sure being a celeb helps, but so does the cash.
        Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

        Comment


        • #5
          "Being an athlete is a guaranteed free pass????"

          Signed,

          Rae Carruth
          Jamal Lewis
          Mike Tyson
          Denny McLain
          Pete Rose
          Art Schlichter
          I like cheese.

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(triggercut1 @ Sep 23 2005, 02:47 PM) Quoted post

            "Being an athlete is a guaranteed free pass????"

            Signed,

            Rae Carruth
            Jamal Lewis
            Mike Tyson
            Denny McLain
            Pete Rose
            Art Schlichter
            [/b][/quote]

            Don't forget Ralph Palmeiro.
            RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
            You'll never be forgotten.

            Comment


            • #7
              Rae Carruth's celebrity is probably the reason he was convicted on the lesser charge and is not on Death Row right now.
              Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

              "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

              Comment


              • #8
                Yup, forgot about The Juicer.

                Anyway, I have an internet friend who's a former Federal Prosecutor. Good guy, hilariously funny. He's now crossed over to the dark side as a defense attorney. Anyway, he's said time and again when folks rail on Kobe or Michael Jackson or (insert celebrity here) "getting away" with a crime by being found not guilty of one that sentiments like the one in the article above are a great copout for a DA to basically say: "I didn't have a case to begin with, I just wanted my name in the paper heading into an election year."
                I like cheese.

                Comment

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