A Capitol Day

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.

16 Comments

  1. Not to sound like a broken record, but I continue to be inspired by your journey. It’s so clear to me that your bill is much-needed and timely, an illustration that when we act on something that’s truly important to us, we are often helping other people as well.

    • Thank you so much.

      One of my Indian friends taught me the word ‘dharma.’ Loosely translated, it means “divine duties that uphold or sustain the universe.” When parents protect their children, children obey their parents, policemen protect citizens … these are acts of dharma.

      I’m sorry for the long exposition, but I wanted to make this point: in the context of this journey, I feel that I’m fulfilling my dharma. Does that make sense?

    • No, I’m not a lawyer, but I once stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. LOL. Actually, I’m a writer and communication consultant. You could check out my website (at the top of my page) to see what I do for a living besides writing books.

      As for the Duke situation, I really don’t feel qualified to say. All I know for sure is that it’s a tough situation for everyone involved, that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and that sometimes justice isn’t meted out in the way that you might expect.

  2. My stomach turned when I read about the attack on your son. Colleges and universities have policies regarding the enrollment of students with criminal records, and they should follow them to the letter with both athletes and non-athletes alike.

    I wis I could say that I was surprised by the coach’s attitude, but I’m not. I’ve seen so many coaches behave in this way.

    Keep up the good fight!

    • Actually, we discovered that there are typically NO policies regarding student athletes who’ve enrolled in a college or university, then been convicted of a violent crime. There *may* be athletic association guidelines, but it’s up to each institution to decide whether/how to implement them. Typically, they err on the side of ignoring the guidelines, for a variety of (IMO unacceptable) reasons. This bill attempts to close the loopholes, standardizing eligibility rules at all public collge and university campuses in California.

      Thanks so much for your kind words about our efforts. I definitely appreciate your support.

  3. “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.”

    Whatever happened to the days when this was a given? Did they ever exist? Maybe I’m delusional. I’m proud to know someone like you who’s out there fighting the good fight (metaphorically, of course). Keep it up!

    • Truth is, those days never did exist; our family’s experience shone the light on that dark truth. That’s why this bill is so important: It helps create a culture of accountability where individual and institutional irresponsibility currently exist.

      I definitely appreciate your support!!

  4. That is terrific news!

    A bit off topic, but not much…Our society is so geared towards praising the ‘alpha male’ that I wonder how much mothers are at fault for encouraging their sons in violent ‘manly’ behavior that they would not tolerate in a girl?
    When you know that over 90% of violent crime commited is commited by men, you have to start wondering if society shouldn’t take bigger steps in curbing violence in men in general. Sports are supposed to be a sort of valve to let off steam, but maybe we are going at it the wrong way when we encourage winning at all cost.

    • I so agree with you, and the LA Times article goes into that a bit (toward the end).

      This bill won’t be the end-all solution to the problem, but it’ll be a good start (I hope).

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