Death can do a funny thing to your perception of an individual. Coming from someone whose home is politics, I think of how after Lincoln was killed the same Confederates who fought to succeed from his nation all of a sudden loved him. After Kennedy was shot, the same people who called for his arrest all of a sudden kept their mounts shut on the socialist globalist they hated so much.
Sometimes this leads to funny results. After the release of Leaving Neverland — a documentary that claims without proof that Michael Jackson molested two children — in 2019, Fox refused to run the Simpsons episode “Stark Raving Dad,” where Jackson guest starred. This is despite the fact that said episode was aired after his death, as well as got the okay to air after both the 1993 and 2005 accusations against Jackson.
However, today I’d like to talk about the late Kobe Bryant who tragically died in a helicopter crash with his daughter and seven others two days ago.
After this happened, a few journalists decided to talk about his life, as many feel you’re suppose to do. However, they made the mistake of talking about the part of his life you aren’t suppose to know about. That being the fact that he was arrested for and sued for sexual assault in 2003.
Now fair is fair, two cases of this exist to my knowledge. One of which he settled and the other was dropped after the prosecution could not testify at the trail. It’s possible that Bryant never sexually assaulted or raped anyone, however, that does not mean it should not be talked about.
The Washington Post was the first to try and put this event down the memory hole. Felicia Sonmez, a reporter for said website, was suspended for her tweets about Kobe Bryant shortly after his death. Specifically, she tweeted an article from The Daily Beast titled “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, The Accuser’s Story, And The Half-Confession.”
I would like to remind everyone that all of these things did, in fact, happen. The Daily Beast wasn’t engaging in some kind of hit piece against Bryant, but simply reporting, you know, like news is suppose to. But instead people are angry at Sonmez for not bending to the whims of the time and not treating someone who quite possibly committed one of the worst crimes possible as someone who could do no wrong.
Then The New York Times got into some hot water. Why? Because in between fluff pieces about just how gosh darn great that basketball player was they dared — dared — to mention the facts stated above.
From the article “N.B.A. Star Kobe Bryant Dies In California Helicopter Crash,”:
Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
This also got major backlash, again, despite everything mentioned in these two paragraphs being true and the rest of the article being one giant fluff piece.
This caused me to do something I can only do in times to desperation, turn on ESPN.
While watching a panel on Kobe Bryant — one of many they had that day — a fellow named Kevin Blackistone, who I hear is a very popular sports journalist was on to talk about Kobe. The panel also had three white people who I cannot remember the name of.
I don’t like bringing race into this, but if you ever see the panel, look at just how uncomfortable the three white guys are getting as Blackistone — a very black man — talks about the rape accusations against Bryant and the aftermath. Including how they caused some very ugly racism to rear its head after Bryant did not receive punishment.
Obviously, if Kobe Bryant could not dribble a basketball we would not be seeing this reaction. The death of someone who is an alleged rapist would, at most, get an article in a local newspaper with language that made it clear the man deserved it.
I won’t even get into what would happen if a white basketball player had committed these same crimes, mostly because aside from a few radicals switching sides it would be mostly the same.
The fact is, Bryant, regardless of if you think he was innocent, was accused of rape. If you wish to paint a picture of his life, this is something you must include morose than his religion — which many fluff pieces at First Thing have been about. Morose then his favorite food, or what age he joined the NBA, or what age he left the NBA.
Trying to push this down the memory hole is wrong, as is trying to put the positive aspects of his life down the same hole. To put it simply, I believe if you support the shoving away of this story for the mainstream light, you are a dishonest and somewhat disgusting human being who is more interested in civility than reality.