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Professional Sports Controversy

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In the past two decades, professional sports have skyrocketed to the top of the world’s cultural hierarchy. In an age where online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are leeching viewers from conventional television networks, professional sports have witnessed almost unprecedented growth. According to a 2011 study by A.T. Kearney, the sports industry is growing faster than overall GDP in developed countries such as America (Collington, Sultan, and Santander,“The Sports Market”), and the 2015 Super Bowl was the most watched television broadcast in American history (Pallotta, “Super Bowl XLIX posts the largest audience in TV history”). As the amount of money and attention poured into this booming industry grows, the influence of its…show more content…
Simpson case, another star football player was accused of homicide. This time, the culprit was inside linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens (Walker, “Ray Lewis' career as a Raven, year by year”). The incident occurred when Lewis and several of his acquaintances were allegedly involved in an altercation with Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Baker and Lollar were both fatally wounded in the fight, and once again, a plethora of evidence was found indicating that Lewis was guilty (Lee, “Remembering the Ray Lewis Controversy”). Baker’s blood was found inside of Lewis’ limo, and Lewis’ white suit (presumably stained with the victims’ blood) was never found (Plaschke, “The cold truth Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis can't completely escape”). In order to have the murder charges against him dropped, Lewis agreed to plead guilty for misdemeanor obstruction of justice and testify against his accomplices in court. The case ended, Lewis was fined $250,000, and he went on to win Super Bowl MVP honors the very next season (Goldberg, “NFL Fines Ray Lewis $250,000”). Today, Lewis is considered by many to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best linebackers of all time. His legacy will live on for generations. Nobody remembers, or cares to remember, Jacinth Baker or Richard…show more content…
In July 2003, Kobe Bryant, shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and one of his generation’s greatest athletes, was accused of raping a 19-year old hotel employee (Howard, “Sexual assault allegations cast shadow over Kobe Bryant legacy”). Following the precedent set by Simpson and Lewis, Bryant was able to overcome seemingly overwhelming evidence to maintain his innocence. The victim’s blood was found on the inside of Bryant’s shirt and a nurse discovered injuries consistent with sexual assault, including vaginal trauma and a bruise on the victim’s jaw (Fox News, “Detective Details Alleged Rape in Kobe Hearing”). Bryant’s defense strategy was essentially to defame his victim, claiming that her injuries were “consistent with a person who has had sex with three different men in three days.” The defense team also “accidently” leaked documents containing the victims name and sexual history to various media outlets, despite a so called “rape shield” that usually protects rape victims’ sexual histories from being brought up in court. This led to the victim actually receiving death threats from avid fans (TheDenverChannel, “Death Threat Against Bryant's Accuser Results In Arrest”). It is not at all surprising that the victim opted to end the criminal case and instead file a civil suit. After the criminal case was closed, Bryant issued an apology, in which he admitted that he “recognize[d] now that she
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