Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Patriots Wishes and Caviar Dreams

It’s that time of year again; the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that my sports wishes, soon will be here.

This year I've had to think long and hard about what I want, because last year my wish came true. As 2012 came to a close, my wish was that the Red Sox would climb out of the AL East cellar. At the time, I just hoped for them to battle for playoff contention. My wish came true times 1,000, with Boston taking the 2013 World Series title. From worst to first, it was a season of the ages.

 This year, my wishes are of the football variety. My Patriots are playing pretty well, and despite some major season-ending injuries, they are winning. But despite the record, something is missing. Primarily, there’s the absence of two 250-lb+ game-changing tight ends. One of them I can hope to see back next season. The other? Well I think right now he’s just hoping he’ll see the outside world sometime before he dies.

For my 265-lb freak, I wish a healthy 2014; one free of surgeries and full of catches, touchdowns and fiestas. Because we all know Rob Gronkowski es un fiesta. I hope his back, knee, forearm and whatever else ails him are good to go next year, and we are graced with a season full of Gronk.

My second request is for tall guys who catch good, and Gronk would say. For Tom Brady’s sake, I wish for a decent received corps. I don’t mean a mish-mash of average talent who are elevated by the play of a great play-calling qb; I mean 2007-esque talent, when The Freak was out there breaking all-time records with Tom Terrific. He deserves to end his career with some great receivers, instead of the mish-mash of talent he’s dealt with since Moss left. I mean a true receiver, not some little slot guy like Welker. Though great at what he did, I want to see someone who can make spectacular grabs like Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall.

 Speaking of ending his career, I wish for a Fountain of Youth. At 36, I know that the end is drawing near for the Patriots with Tom Brady at the helm. I can’t imagine he has more than a couple seasons left in his arm, and I’m already freaking out. But my biggest fear? That Bill Belichick will decide to leave at the same time as his muse. Then I really don’t know what I’ll do. If Tom leaves but New England still has Bill, I feel like we can make it; without him, the dreaded “rebuilding” will begin. We've been a bit spoiled in the last 12 years, and I don’t think I can take a season of renovation. Every year since 2001, my football team has been a playoff and Super Bowl contender. I can’t remember a time when I “couldn't watch” the Patriots, or that each game didn't mean something. So I need Tom to drink some H2O from Ponce de Leon’s legendary spring and continue to be an active Patriot for life. Since I know this isn't logical, I hope that Belichick doesn't retire at the same time as the best quarterback ever (I’m not biased at all).

 A guy who can run 100 yards a game… without dropping the ball. I am so tired of the Patriots’ non-existent running game. They have spurts here and there over the years, but they haven’t had a consistent runner since Corey Dillon. I trust Belichick, but his incapability to draft a decent running back is killing me. I know he thinks other positions are more important, which is obvious since the Pats never draft a game-changing WR or RB, but for once I’d love to have a guy on the field who I knew could just run up the gut and score some TDs. As Tom gets up there in years, having a reliable runner to take some of the pressure off would be a God send.

A new hip for Aqib Talib. One of my favorite Patriots, I fear Talib is going to play the rest of his career on one leg. A legitimate option for Defensive Player of the Year before he got hurt Oct. 13, Talib was completely shutting it down in the backfield – in consecutive weeks, he held Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Jimmy Graham to a COMBINED six catches and 62 yards. Through the first six games of the season, with a healthy Talib, the Patriots defense allowed just 16 points per game. Having a guy who can shut down the opposing team’s best player can’t be understated. Then Talib hurt his hip flexor, missed three games, and hasn’t been the same since he returned. That said, Talib on one leg is still better than ¾ of the other corners in the league. But imagine if he was 100%? That is my wish.

So, Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawing at the air … don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant and so cuddly, but still omnipotent… please hear my prayers for Tom, Bill, Gronk, Aqib and the rest.

And finally, my wish for all of you is that you have a very Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Chanukah, and a very happy and healthy new year. Here’s hoping for some great Bowl games, some kick-ass NFL playoff matchups, and, hopefully, Tom hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end. Amen.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jameis Winston case: Victimizing the victim in rape accusations

One day, you have consensual sex with someone. Later that same day, you go out to a bar, have some drinks and get a little woozy. You’re talking to a guy, maybe you even flirt. He whisks you away and things get a little out of hand, and you tell him to stop. He doesn't. You leave in shock. It might even take you a little while to realize what happened. You were raped. You know you should go to the police, but at the time you don’t want to deal with that. You just want to forget. Or, you do go to the police, and they don’t take you seriously because you’re drunk. Then imagine finding out, or knowing, that he is a star athlete. And everyone in town wants you to keep your mouth shut. Because apparently your attack is less important than a game.

On Dec. 5, Florida state attorney Willie Meggs decided not to charge Florida State quarterback and Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston with rape because of “major lapses in the accuser's memory, her level of intoxication at the time of the incident and the presence of two different men in the woman's rape kit."

I’m going to get up on my soap box for a few minute, because I am pissed. I'm pissed because rape is an epidemic in our country, and people act like it isn't - statistically, nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. have been through a rape or attempted rape[i].  I am mad that yet another woman was made out to be a slut because she had consensual sex with someone earlier in the day; that she was "asking for it" because she was drinking. Whether he intended to or not, what Meggs said is, if you are drinking and get raped, then your recollection can’t be trusted. And if you had consensual sex earlier that night, then there is no way the police should believe that the second person made you do something you didn't want to do. Because apparently having two sets of DNA inside of her, one which is reported to be that of her boyfriend, makes her a slut. That is the implication and don’t try to make the argument that isn't what they are saying – it absolutely is. This is why 60 percent of women who are raped don’t report it – because 97 percent of rapists won’t spend a day in jail[ii].

What a crock. I think we all know that most rapes happen when the victim is drinking. According to police reports, the woman’s speech was slightly slurred and she doesn't remember certain parts of the night. I’m sure the police instantly shook their heads at the “dumb slut who was asking for it.” Generalization on my part? Perhaps. But “no” in slurred speech is still “no.” 

When speaking about the victim’s memory gaps, the state attorney pointed to "an analysis of a blood-alcohol test taken several hours after the alleged attack that showed her blood-alcohol content at the time of the incident could have been 0.10 percent, even though when it was taken the rest registered a 0.04 reading. The 0.10 reading would have been higher than the 0.08 legal limit for driving."

Wait... so when her blood was taken it was .04, but they are speculating it "could" have been .10? If this girl weighed somewhere around 120 lbs, that is 2-3 drinks in an hour[iii]. Not to sound like an alcoholic, but I drink that amount on a regular Friday night and am nowhere near "blackout." Even if she is a lightweight, I find it hard to believe having a few drinks would cause her to have so many memory gaps that the prosecution couldn't count on her recollection of the night of the attack. It just seems like a very convenient excuse.

Most women don’t report rape. You know why? Because of crap like this. They make it out like you did something wrong because you were drinking and can’t remember every single step you took the night of the attack. And the fact that she had two sets of DNA inside of her makes her story less believable, even though one set of DNA reportedly belongs to her boyfriend. Is it that hard to believe that she had sex with her boyfriend, then went out, had a few couple drinks, and was taken advantage of? Had this gone to trial, Winston's accuser would have faced brutal cross-examination regarding her memory gaps, her drinking, and the presence of another person’s DNA from the night of the incident. According to ESPN, rape shield laws in all 50 states protect sexual assault victims from inquiry into their sexual histories, but because there were two sets of DNA on the same night, it would have allowed cross examination on the details of her sexual history.

This makes me ill. Having sex with someone willingly earlier in the night does not make her a slut, and it doesn't mean she wasn't raped later that night. Drinking too much doesn't mean she gave up her right to say no, or that she was asking for it. Bad decisions don't justify an attack.

You know what she remembers? Who attacked her – I can guarantee that. I’m sure she has tried to forget it – but, unfortunately for her, she never will. She didn’t come forward with the name right away because she knew this would happen. As soon as Winston started playing like a Heisman Trophy candidate, unless there was video of him in the act, there was no way he was getting charged.

There are people out there implying that, because it was Jameis Winston, that “she probably wanted it.” F*&# you. Just because a girl dresses a certain way, drinks or even flirts, doesn't make it OK for anyone – anyone – to continue something after she says “no.” We are a country that victimizes a woman after rape. They are put through a trial – judicial or public – that questions their very moral fortitude, implying that their sexual history means rape isn't possible. Just look at the Steubenville High School rape case[iv], where a high school girl was drunk and assaulted by two football players – and the creeps took pictures and shared them with friends and on social media. And instead of supporting the poor girl, people – including those in her own town and the media –downplayed the rape, sympathized with the perpetrators and called her a whore.

I don’t care if a girl has 100 drinks, or has slept with 100 men – that doesn't make it OK for someone else to force her to do something – ever. And just because someone is a star athlete doesn't mean he should be excused for bad behavior or predatory actions.

All of this said, I am not saying Jameis Winston is a rapist – I fully believe one is innocent until proven guilty. However, the given reasons for not charging him in this case are asinine. As a woman, I am insulted and I am mad - women are victimized all of the time. This case just made me feel so sorry for the victim, who was victimized again by the public and by the judicial system that is supposed to protect her.