Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The “violence” against athletes’ rights

People seem to think that even the simple accusation of a crime against a woman requires actions that go beyond what “normal” people would expect to face. Television programs like “Law & Order” tells us that crimes against women are “special crimes” committed against “special victims,” not because women are more likely than men to be a victim of a crime (they are much less likely to be a victim of a crime) but because of the dictates of  “feeling good about feeling bad” gender politics.  It doesn’t matter if the anecdotes are factual; focusing on one class of victim naturally allows the impression that reality is one thing when it is quite another.

Nevertheless, it is quite rare for a person who works in the private sector to lose his job on the mere accusation of a gender related incident, without first the benefit of a judicial hearing, fair or not. It is called “due process.” But in the NFL, a player can be suspended for four games or more without pay on the mere accusation—or suspended for life, which often requires the ignoring of judgments in the criminal courts that are dependent on evidence based on all the known facts, and not on activist or media pressure. This was certainly the case in regard to Ray Rice, despite the fact that both he and his now wife were charged with domestic violence, and that the unedited video clearly shows that she was the primary instigator. But that is not how the media’s doctored “evidence” framed the incident, and despite a judge finding that the NFL had violated Rice’s rights based partly on this false framing, he remains too “toxic” for NFL teams to take a flyer on him.
But it goes beyond professional sports. We need only look at the University of Oregon case, when three black basketball players were dismissed from the school on what police investigators and a local prosecutor determined was a false accusation of sexual assault, that the alleged “victim” had lied. Yet because the school was overly “sensitive” to outrage from agitators from the women’s “studies” department and other victim-creating advocacy groups, the players’ due process rights were completely ignored, not even considered.  These players were deprived of an opportunity for a college education as well as a possible future in the professional ranks; no reputable school would give now them an opportunity given fears of “outrage” from a small number of activists on their own campuses who didn’t care about individual rights, or of such concepts as innocence. What I question is why no constitutionally-savvy attorney made a case for the players that such actions are a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. The amendment in full states the following:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

Note the phrase that I put in parenthesis. Some people seem to think that “due process” is just some arbitrary term invented by civil libertarians that can be ignored if the “righteousness” of a “cause” requires it. This is not the case at all. The Constitution explicitly states that it is illegal to deny a person due process rights—and that is exactly what happens when players are suspended on accusation alone, and not compensated when they are found innocent or charges dismissed, or for players who were responding to violence that was ignored because of victim/perpetrator mythology, or those players who are not “stars” and thus have even fewer “rights” kicked out of school unjustly. The players’ Sixth Amendment rights were also violated, with no shred of “impartiality” or interest in a fair “trial” in evidence.

Now, I know views like this are “unpopular,” politically incorrect, and subject to accusations of “insensitivity” from gender activists, and such. But I am not going to be cowed when it comes to tyranny and hypocrisy. I know that there are many people with tendencies toward “resolving” issues with violent acts; I’ve encountered people like this and I detest them; I believe they should be off the streets. But abhorrence of violence doesn’t mean that I think that any subset of victims (save children) and perpetrators deserve “special” treatment and constitutional rights need to be redefined or ignored, especially when the accused is actually innocent.

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