So, Stephen A. Smith had a bust weekend. The ESPN panelist kicked off Friday with some what-the-fuck-did-he-just-say? remarks about victims who “provoke” domestic violence and all Internet hell broke loose. On the show “First Take,” Smith and other panelists were discussing Ray Rice, an NFL player who physically assaulted his now-wife and has been suspended for two games. (By the way, the NFL is quite rightly being criticized for this slap on the wrist punishment — another player is currently being suspended for a full year for smoking pot.) In seeming sympathy with abusers, Smith shared his opinion at two different points in the conversation that some DV can be provoked.
“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” he said, adding later, “We … got to make sure [victims] can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.” Keep reading »
I haven’t been following the Australian swimming community’s sexual abuse scandal. I only feel like I have been. That’s because these sorts of heartbreaking stories are so goddamned familiar: a coach is accused of sexually abusing the young charges under his tutelage and with whom he has shared lots of private time, often far from home.
In Australia’s case, several coaches were accused of sexual abuse of both male and female swimmers between the ages of 11 and 16. One coach is Scott Volkers, who is accused of child sexual abuse by three now-adult women. Volkers is accused, among other things, of rubbing the genitalia of a 13-year-old girl and groping the girls’ breasts; he has long claimed his innocence. Charges were dropped against Volkers in 2002 because accusations could not be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Two years later, in 2004, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen advised against recharging him.
Currently, Australia is holding an investigation (called a “royal commission”) focusing on the country’s institutional response, including whether Cunneen’s advice not to recharge him was appropriate. At the time, Cunneen showed skepticism that the abuse could be prosecuted. Which, as a lawyer, is her job to prove. However, what Cunneen said about it all was pretty offensive to these victims. Cunneen said it could all be seen as “trivial … almost fanciful” and it would be difficult to prosecute Volkers for molestation because his victim may not have developed breasts yet. “It is legitimate to consider whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts,” she said. Keep reading »
Friday night, United States women’s national soccer team star Hope Solo, 32, was arrested on two counts of domestic violence in Kirkland, Washington, and being held without bail. According to The Seattle Times, Solo allegedly struck her sister and her nephew during a family gathering at the home she shares with her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens. According to Kirkland police Lt. Mike Murray, there were visible injuries on Solo’s sister and nephew. You may recall, this isn’t the first time that Solo has been involved in a domestic altercation. Back in 2012, Stevens was arrested for allegedly hitting Solo; they were married hours after his court appearance. The case was eventually dropped. [Bleacher Report]
I may not care about the results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but I do care about sex with hot soccer players. (Or, as they are called in most of the world, “football players.”) Fortunately, Quartz has researched a handy-dandy list of all the countries’ team sex policies for the 2014 games. The long and short of it (HA)? There are some pretty weird rules on pre-game boning. Spain and Germany, for instance, ban sex the night before a match. How this is enforced, I don’t know. Russian players aren’t allowed to bring wives or girlfriends, so presumably they are either employing the local sex trade or abstaining. And the French, being French, have all sorts of complicated rules about sex before games but mostly advise you get a good night’s sleep. [Quartz]