For years now, I've been watching ESPN cover rape and sexual assault cases involving athletes. During this past month, it happened once again when allegations against FSU quarterback Jameis Winston started to rise up like a ghost ready to haunt Winston's future. Today, all charges were dropped.
Throughout the month long ordeal, ESPN was ready in the wings to cover the entire event. Today, police announced that at 2 o'clock they would be releasing a statement indicating whether or not they would be pressing charges against Winston. Strangely, ESPN started full coverage at 9 am!?!? I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Every time there is a high profile sexual assault case (Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, etc), ESPN covers the event more than any other news station, swaying the country as they do. As we all know, ESPN is the biggest boy's club in America. They produce television for men by men; it's great; I watch it constantly, and I'm obsessed. But, this causes a problem with sexual assault cases. Even though they try to stay as neutral as possible, ESPN covers these events from a male/sports point of view. Every person watching is a sports fan, and the last thing they want to hear is that their idols... these athletes...their team's favorite player is a rapist. No further questions. AND ESPN, doesn't want to present an argument to piss off their viewers because that means less money and more room for competition to compete. It also means disservice and illegitimacy.
Every major sports star over the past ten to fifteen years that has been charged with a major sex crime has been exonerated. Hmmmm. Something doesn't seem right. Do we really believe that Ben Roethlisberger didn't do anything questionable in the bathroom at that bar? Did Kobe get off? Is Winston getting a pass because the National Championship is in a few weeks? To tell you the truth, I really don't know. But if I listen to ESPN, it ALWAYS sounds like these athletes are being wronged because a woman is questioning his integrity as a person. Let me clear something up for you: Athletes are no better than anybody else. As Charles Barkley once said, I am not a role model.
So, what does ESPN's distorted vision do to the national mindset? First, it turns sports fans into real jerks, (which makes me look bad because I am the ultimate sports fan). Across Facebook, I see people posting insane statuses saying things like "Leave Jameis Winston Alone!," and "I'm so glad to see that Winston got off." It's not crazy for people to say this about an innocent man (and Winston may very well be), but it is crazy to say this about a man and a sexual assault case that you know almost nothing about. And let me be clear: these people know nothing about the case. The police didn't even know enough to make a decision until today. The only thing these people know are the facts being reported by ESPN's distorted vision.
The other thing that ESPN is helping to create is a culture that is absolutely terrifying for women. In today's world, women are absolutely afraid to report a sexual assault against a high profile athlete. If they do, they will be smeared beyond belief, just check out what happened to the chick that accused Kobe "Black Mamba" Bryant. The only thing that I could tell you about her is that she is insane, a whore, and a gold digger. Thanks ESPN.
Today, after the Jameis Winston announcement, I don't know what to feel because I don't know any of the facts. The only thing I really do know is that I wouldn't want to be the girl that tried to challenge the almighty.