On the same day that two Duke University lacrosse team members were arrested for their alleged involvement in a much-publicized rape case, I was in Sacramento, making the case for Assembly Bill 2165.* Today’s arrests are just the latest installment of a tragic story unfolding — for the victim, the alleged criminals, and each of their families. But they also serve as timely illustration of the relevance of that bill.
Good news: The Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Internet Media Committee unanimously endorsed the bill today, echoing the support of the Higher Education Committee at the end of last month. And five Assembly members have added their names as co-authors of the bill, which signals its bi-partisan support.
A story in last Sunday’s LA Times suggests that the “Duke lacrosse scandal reinforces a growing sense that college sports are out of control, fueled by pampered athletes with a sense of entitlement.” Whether the perceptions are widely held, my family’s experience suggests that it’s true. That’s why I’m so pleased that the bill has successfully cleared another milestone on its way to (I hope) becoming law.
I spoke with someone from the New York Times this morning, and this afternoon, with a reporter from USA Today. I’m hopeful that something will come of those conversations. I know from my family’s experience that it may take quite a while for a judicial resolution to the alleged rape crime in Durham; but in the meantime, it’d be nice to have the media turn the spotlight on this potential solution to a widespread problem illuminated by the Duke University case. Then, when we’re cheering for our favorite student athletes and teams, we could be certain we wouldn’t be cheering for violent criminals, as well.
*In essence, AB 2165 prohibits student athletes who are convicted of violent felonies or sexual crimes from participating in intercollegiate sports at California public colleges and universities until they’ve successfully completed the terms of their court-assigned sentences.