As New Year draws closer and we roll into the time of reflection, we can be forgiven for thinking sport is pure. With yesterday’s passing of Nelson Mandela, social media was bombarded in one of his quotes on unity:
“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
It also has the power to unite opinion on the darker matters. Gone are days of pure simplicity, we are almost immune when it comes to a headline reading an athlete has been accused of sexual assault.
Yesterday while FSU quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared of rape allegations, this issue was again at the forefront.
Winston claimed the woman he had sex with in December last year was consensual and was cleared with no wrong doing.
While most pen their predictions for 2014, here is one that’s a certainty for you; next year we will continue to regularly hear of athletes being accused of sexual assault.
This isn’t a bash up of players by any means, they are the reason I do what I do, however it’s those who tarnish its image for the remaining men I’m referring to.
If we were to go by the criminal terminology, I have in fact been sexually assaulted by an athlete.
Sexual Assault: the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or an act of sexual contact on the body of another person, male or female, without his or her consent.
In 2008 I was in a night club celebrating my teams win with a big group who’d all been to the game, the opposing team who had lost that night were also at the club.
While on the other end of some introductions, one of the opposing players reached across placing his hand on my right breast and proceeded to introduce himself my grabbing it and shaking it in view to all and sundry.
Here, I had two options. I could have walked straight out of there to the nearest police station and made a claim against him or not said a word.
I obviously chose the latter.
Fortunately for this idiot who was engaged at the time (and now very married), he grabbed me and not another woman, for she I am sure could very well have gone down the route of ruining his image and earning potential.
So why didn’t I say anything or stand up for myself? Did I not feel violated? Of course I did. This was not the treatment my father envisaged for his only child.
Perhaps if I then had made a complaint the player mightn’t ever get that inebriated again. Being drunk was certainly no excuse for his behavior but it was the reason I let it go.
Then there is the flip-side. We’ve seen the comments women write with great intent to these men on social media. Slowly they infiltrate a young man’s sense. These men are told they are hot. They are treated like kings.
“OMG you are so sexy here is my number” beeps another Instagram alert.
A young man in possession of both an ego and a raging libido? It could get messy. Toss in fame, add some alcohol and a women with a motive? It’s going to get ugly.
That women at the center of Winston case? From day one she was called every name under the sun and was instantly looked upon as a troublemaker, dismissed purely because Winston had notoriety. If he didn’t have the fame, you do have to wonder if she’d be written of so quickly.
In this modern era, what women or (god forbid) teenage girl would want to endure a mental beating? An oncoming onslaught from fans, feeling you have lost the battle before it’s even begun?
This is far from being over, it’s merely the beginning.