Oct 132003
Authors: Luke Cornish

Rape is always a despicable, violent and intolerable act. Its

subject is the matter of many a heated debate and will inevitably

bring out strong opinions about what constitutes rape and what

should be done with those found guilty of it. The punishments that

have been suggested range from the death penalty to castration.

What these all have in common, though, is a recurring theme

throughout this country’s history: That those convicted by a jury

of their peers should be punished, not those simply accused of a

despicable act.

Now while it’s unlikely that Kobe Bryant’s jury in Eagle County

will be one made up of his peers, it is true that said jury should

convict him before he is punished. Some might say he has already

been punished by the unrelenting media harassing him and his

family, or by the fact that his reputation will never be the


According to polling, 12 percent of people asked said Bryant was

one of their favorite athletes before the incident. Two percent of

the population said they were no longer big fans of Bryant after

the incident. The people who said they thought of him in a negative

light increased from 15 to 24 percent.

“I just think it’s been blown out of proportion,” said CSU

senior biology major Andrew Reitinger.

There is discussion in the media and in many bars over whether

Kobe should be able to play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers

or whether he should be forced to sit on the bench all year.

“I think he should be able play basketball if he wants,” said

CSU senior business major Adam Waggoner. “It’s not like he’s been

proven guilty yet.”

And therein lies the problem. While it goes against the whole

concept of justice to punish someone yet to be found guilty of

anything, these limitations rest solely upon the government and not

against private organizations such as the Lakers or Nike.

Days before Bryant was arrested in Eagle County for the sexual

assault of a 19-year-old woman, he signed a 5-year $40 million shoe

contract with Nike. The original launch date for his new shoe line

was set for Feb. 7, 2004, but that date may be set back or


This is for a variety of reasons but mainly because Bryant’s

reputation as a clean-cut icon has been severely tarnished. This

translates into dollar signs for the big companies that have relied

on Bryant being squeaky clean when they agreed to give him

contracts. These are all justifications for punishing someone who

is already being punished and can face up to life in jail if

convicted of a truly heinous act.

In my opinion, it is never right to undermine the freedom of the

people by compelling them to be punished for something that is yet

to be proven true. It is, however, the nature of a free market

economy to allow businesses to conduct their affairs without

hindrance from the government.

I think we should let the jurors of Eagle County do their job

and decide for themselves whose version of the facts to believe and

abide by their decision. That is the nature of this system of

government and while not perfect, it is the best we have.





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