Friday, August 21, 2015

The Rapist

I just finished reading the Texas Monthly article “Silence at Baylor”  about Bears via Boise State defensive end Sam Ukwuachu.  From the article, it sounds like this kid has at best a violently bad temper and at worst is a rapist and violent criminal.  

Disturbing is the fact that less than 90 days ago, Baylor DC Phil Bennett insinuated that Ukwuachu would be playing for the Bears in the fall – even though he knew full well that Ukwuachu had been accused of felony sexual assault to the extent that he was going to stand trial in Waco before the end of June.

Ukwuachu, who transferred to Baylor in the spring of 2013, was removed from the Boise State team for violence against a fellow lady student.  Boise State chose not to grant a waiver for Ukwuachu to be eligible to play in the 2013 season, citing they would not be supporting Sam in his athletic career moving forward.  He then was suspended for his first eligible season, 2014, for “some issues.”

Some issues?  Like the fact that he’s a rapist?  Gotcha. For God’s sake, Baylor paid for this particular rapist to go to school for two years (and graduate).

Yet, despite yesterday’s guilty verdict of second-degree sexual assault, I haven’t seen any mention of Ukwuachu being kicked off the team.  That seems like a no-brainer to me, and maybe it's implied.  Are we supposed to derive hidden meaning from this generic Title IX statement issued by Baylor after the verdict:

“Acts of sexual violence contradict every value Baylor University upholds as a caring Christian community. In recent years we have joined university efforts nationally to prevent campus violence against women and sexual assault, to actively support survivors of sexual assault with compassion and care, and to take action against perpetrators. We have established and fully staffed a Title IX office that employs a Title IX Coordinator and two full-time investigators. Maintaining a safe and caring community is central to Baylor’s mission and at the heart of our commitment to our students, faculty and staff.”

It sure doesn’t seem like sexual violence contradicts every value at Baylor, unless the university harbors different values than its football program.  Why has Ukwuachu remained on the team, allowed access to football facilities and been touted as on the 2015 roster when the University has known since October 20th of 2013 that he has been accused of sexual assault and more recently has had pending sexual assault charges against him?

Oh, because between October 20th, 2013 and August 17th, 2015, Baylor conducted their own “investigation” of the assault complaint and cleared him. This Deadspin article has the best summary and commentary I’ve run across. The investigation included reading text messages, interviewing the accused and the victim, interviewing a friend of the victim, looking at results of a polygraph taken by the accused, and interviewing the roommate of the accused. 

I left out the other parts of the investigation because…there weren’t any.  This unacceptable and shoddy investigation did have two points of interest.

One: The polygraph reviewed was commissioned by the accused independently, and the investigator was not present for it.  Which is not at all suspicious, in fact, it’s so legit that courts almost never allow them as admissible.  Oh, wait. 

Two: The roommate of the accused said he was home in bed at the time of the assault and heard nothing, but actually his cell phone records show that his phone was in a different part of town at that time.  I don’t know many college kids that are EVER five feet from their phone.  I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, but the roommate was so hesitant to testify in court that he had to have an ankle monitor fitted because he was in contempt of court for missing his grand jury summons.

It’s worth noting that the investigator did not bother to examine the results of the victim’s rape kit or speak with her psychologist.  Just saying.

Shame on the Waco Police Department, who’s shoddy at best handling of the assault and complaint delayed justice for this victim.  According to the Texas Monthly article:

“While Jane Doe went to the hospital immediately following her encounter with Ukwuachu and spoke with an officer there, detectives suspended the case after taking a report and investigating. But it wasn’t until months later that the details made their way to a prosecutor’s desk—and once they finally did, assistant district attorney Hilary Laborde found enough in the investigation to pursue felony sexual assault charges against Ukwuachu. The incident between Ukwuachu and Doe occurred on October 20, 2013, but he wasn’t indicted until June 25 of the following year.”

Shame on Baylor.  I guess the pressure to be the “One True Champion” has forced you to make some bad decisions in the ethics department.  I refuse to believe that the Baylor Program made frank and direct contact with the Boise State Program and was left with insufficient information to know that this kid is bad news.  If, indeed Boise State representatives refused to tell them why the player was released, it should have been clear that it was something pretty serious.  Red flags go up when Freshman All-Americans are cut from teams in a shroud of secrecy.  

Just for fun, I read news articles citing Ukwuachu's dismissal from 2013 and the comments sections were filled with innuendo and references as to why he was dismissed.  While it’s true that “the comments section” of a web article isn’t conclusive proof, it should have raised enough concern to be looked into.  I’m sure Baylor’s athletic department is filled with lackey employees who can spend a few hours doing some Google searches on a player you’re thinking of picking up.

Shame on Coach Briles, who now claims he knew nothing about Ukwuachu’s previous history with violence or why he was let go from the Boise State program. It’s no big secret I’m not a fan of Coach Briles, but honestly, short of a polygraph test, you will not be able to convince me he didn’t know what the deal was with this kid.  

And just to be clear, I’m not talking about an Ukwuachu commissioned polygraph.

Briles claims that when he spoke to then head coach Chris Peterson at Boise State about Ukwuachu, there was "No mention of anything beyond Sam being depressed and needing to come home [to Texas]," Briles said. "So that was our information. And that's what you go by."

In fact, according to The Washington Post, Coach Peterson said in a statement that "After Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program and expressed an interest in transferring to Baylor, I initiated a call with coach Art Briles. In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam's disciplinary record and dismissal." 

But Briles still insists "No, No. That's not true.  Lord, no.  No, there's no truth.  Find out who informed us and talk to them, please."

Tsk Tsk...I know you're a Christian University, but I wouldn't bring God into this one, Arty.

If Peterson is lying, that’s a pretty bold faced one.  If I had to choose between Briles and Peterson in a truth competition, it would be no big surprise who I’d side with.

Also, am I supposed to believe that when the investigation into the allegations was conducted at Baylor that Coach Briles wasn't informed?  Well, I don't.  But if you do, I've got a ticket in the Longhorn's section of the National Championship game I can sell you. 

Sidebar: Noted rule follower, Texas Head Coach Charlie Strong weighed in on domestic violence this summer, purporting that much of the responsibility for players making it to the NFL despite having a history of violence against women, lies with the colleges.

“Part of the problem is, if we allow it to happen in college, when they make it to the NFL there is not much we can do because we have allowed it to happen,'" Strong said. "So now, their hands are tied. I look at it like this. Some of the things we allow to happen just baffle me. "There is no way a guy should hit a woman," he said. 

"There is no reason for it. If it happens, you need to find somewhere else to play. It isn't hard. Sometimes people think it's hard. You have values. Treat women with respect. No drugs. No weapons. How hard is that? I don't get it"

Coach Strong has kicked players off the team for much less than RAPE.  And he’s done it swiftly and mercilessly.  Like less than 24 hours after he finds out about a rule violation.  

Don't misunderstand me, I love it.  Also, loveable is the assertion that he "didn't kick them off the team."  Oh, Coach Turtleneck, I heart you: End Sidebar.

I love college football, I love my team, and I love our players.  But under no circumstance do I want my University to hide or conceal crimes or harbor criminals in the program hoping they can get away with it.  There’s no convincing me that Baylor wasn’t “trying to get away with it.”

I didn’t make the best decisions in college, but I can sure as shit promise you that I wasn’t raping people and expecting to get away with it.  (To be perfectly clear on that statement, I wasn’t raping people at all.) 

College athletes are under immense pressure to preform, and know full well that the four (or so) years they have on that field are nothing but a long and publicly scrutinized job interview for the NFL.   Is it impossible to not deal drugs, drive a boat stoned, shoplift crablegs, beat the hell out of women in bars, and rape women?  Just for four years?

The entitlement, lack of remorse and accountability that exists in college football programs is sickening.  Not only are players giving themselves a bad name, but the Universities they play for and their law-abiding teammates who are working hard to achieve their dreams as well.  Those players, the good ones, should be taking a stand against the teammates & administrations who let them down.  The behavior will only continue as long as it’s tolerated.  And rewarded.

To sum it all up, when referring to the outcome of the trial, Briles said it was "unfortunate for everybody concerned."

Certainly not unfortunate for the rapist who was convicted.  "Unfortunate" indicates you have befallen an unfavorable circumstance out of your control.

Not particularly unfortunate for Briles & the Baylor Administration. They are fortunate to rid their program and institution of a violent rapist.  Even if the price was to have been exposed for what they truly value. 

But it is unfortunate for the victim, who was raped, forced to re-arrange her schedule, forfeit her dream of playing soccer for Baylor, now suffers from PTSD and had justice dragged out just shy of two years.

All so Coach Briles and the Administration could protect their “values”

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