November 6, 2008
Getting Away with Murder
When accused of rape, assault, or other crimes against their peers or other ordinary members of society, collegiate athletes are often times favored in the eyes of the courts as well as school officials, staff, coaches, and members of society with ties to the team. Because athletes are often times seen as role models, this reflects negatively and adds to the growing problem in America where those with money, fame, and talent are seen as “above the law” and can afford or are given better representation and therefore receive lesser/no sentences.
For example, collegiate athletes that find themselves accused of rape or sexual assault are often times surrounded by and supported by members of society with affluence and power. Sometimes, these individuals use this affluence to coerce victims in to silence or out-of-court settlements, sparing the athlete’s reputation as well as playing eligibility and future career. When Pierre Pierce, a former member of the Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team, was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student in 2002, an “Iowa City couple with ties to the men’s basketball team tried to persuade [the] victim… to resolve the matter quietly outside of the legal system”, as reported in the Des Moines Register (Rood, 4A). These prominent members of society can be linked to troubled collegiate athletes in the form of friends or family, or linked to the university as season ticket holders or athletic boosters.
In addition to being favored by members of the public, collegiate athletes are also sometimes favored in the eyes of the courts. In the case of the assault of his former girlfriend in 2002, Pierre Pierce was indicted on charges of third-degree sexual abuse and awarded a deferred judgment after agreeing to plead guilty to lesser charges; a few years later he was found guilty of another offense involving attempted sexual assault, when he was this time seen as a repeat...