Tuesday, September 17, 2019
This week sexual assault allegations were made against Patriot's receiver Antonio Brown. The allegations include rape. The usual defenses are raised. The sexual encounters were consensual. The Plaintiff is just looking for money. These stereotypes rely on two myths regarding women. The stereotype of the woman who claims rape due to next day regret and the golddigger. Both stereotypes are dying, thanks in large part to the #MeToo movement. Women are more willing to come forward.
The Patriot's response was to announce that it would conduct its own investigation. “Under no circumstance does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us that they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.” Great irony from the organization lead by Robert Kraft. The organization takes comfort that the NFL will investigate and that the Commissioner, Roger Goodall, has the power to impose sanctions. Hardly reassuring.
Separate investigations are used to derail both civil and criminal prosecutions. The results are used to influence public opinion in favor of the NFL player without regard to the complainant's day in court.
Last year, Professor Deborah Epstein resigned from the NFL's commission on domestic violence. In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, she said that she could no longer be part of a body that exists in name only. After conducting a study involving the wives of NFL players, Prof. Epstein made several recommendations. But the commission rarely met and none of the recommendations were implemented. An independent NFL investigation is a misnomer when the investigator's first obligation is to the owners who have made significant financial investments in their players.