posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 07:50 PM
OK. I found a detailed summary of all the charges of violence made over the years against Jim Brown. Now, the obvious response to be made in his
defense is that he was never found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by any jury of any of these things.
But so what? That standard is generally considered, by legal scholars, to be one of about 95% proof. They'll never tell you that if you're on a
jury, of course, but 95% satisfaction is about what jurors are supposed to have to convict. And anyway, even if 100% proof existed, many of Brown's
accusers seem to have been persuaded to drop or alter their charges.
Now, mind y'all, this even comes from ESPN, which is a good 3 decades behind the times on women's issues. The night Charlotte Smith hit THE most
exciting shot in the history of NCAA basketball--a do-or-die shot, with the clock expiring as the ball was in the air, and unlike Laettner's famed and
thrilling shot for the regional final against Kentucky, THIS was for the whole thing, the national title, against Louisiana Tech--ESPN gave viewers 20
minutes of NBA, NHL and preseason baseball before reporting Smith's shot for about 30 seconds.
Needless to say, if that had been a men's NCAA-championship-winning-do-or-die shot in 1994, it would have eaten the first 10 minutes of SportsCenter
and we'd be seeing it 20 times every March, for the rest of our lives. And if you didn't know the name Charlotte Smith until now, don't be
embarrassed. Neither does almost any other sports fan, including all the hetero female sports fans I know.
I saw the shot live, and I can tell you it rivals the 1980 hockey win, Secretariat's zillion-length win in the Belmont, and Maz's HR in the bottom of
the 9th inning of Game 7 in 1960, as the most exciting, tear-inducing, emotionally overwhelming sport moment I've ever witnessed.
Anyway, ESPN is hardly a bastion of feminism and progress for issues of how sports affect women. But in their SportsCentury article on Brown, who was
their #4 SportsFigure of the century, they filed this report on Brown's record with women:
"But for all of Brown's good deeds [on behalf of young black men] and athletic prowess, there has been a dark side to him, too. He was frequently
accused of violent crimes, primarily toward women, and though he was found not guilty [WRONG; usually the charges were dismissed--see below], they
have hurt his image.
"An 18-year-old accused Brown of forcing her to have sex after giving her whisky, but a jury found him innocent [WRONG; they found the state had not
proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt] in the 10-day trial in 1965. He was accused of throwing a model from a balcony in 1968, but when the
22-year-old woman refused to name Brown as her assailant, the charge of assault with intent to murder was dropped.
"He was acquitted of assaulting a man after a traffic accident in 1969. He was fined $500 and spent a day in jail after beating up a golfing partner.
He was charged with rape, sexual battery and assault in 1985, but the charges were dropped when the 33-year-old woman gave inconsistent testimony.
The next year, he was arrested for allegedly beating his fiancee after accusing her of flirting. He spent three hours in jail, but three days later
the 21-year-old woman said she didn't want to prosecute.
"In 1999, Brown was convicted in Los Angeles of smashing the window of his 25-year-old wife Monique's car, but was acquitted of making terrorist
threats [in California, that means a threat to inflict death or great bodily injury, and it's a "strike" offense] against her."
All together now, how many of you believe one guy, even one famous football player, could be WRONGFULLY accused of so many horrible crimes against
women over the years? I'm not aware of any other sports star who's been charged nearly that often for such things, including guys like Mike Tyson who
probably would stand no chance in court if the alleged victims went through with their charges, and who would, 10 or 15 years ago, have been a much
more lucrative target for false charges.
Jim Brown is either the unluckiest sports superstar of all time, having been hit with all sorts of terrible false charges of unrelated acts of
violence against wholly unrelated people through the years, or the obvious conclusion is the correct one. I vote for Choice B.
Now, to be clear: I do NOT believe these atrocities should have any effect on Brown's Hall of Fame membership, nor on his status among the greatest
running backs ever, nor his status among the greatest sportsfigures of the 20th Century. None. Same story as Ty Cobb, and if Brown hates that
comparison, he can take solace in the knowledge that Cobb would have hated it, too.
But as a human being, or as one of the great people in sports history? Well, as far as I'm concerned, Brown can take all of his work with troubled
inner-city boys and young men, and put it where the sun won't hit it. Not only is Brown light years from Roberto Clemente or Lou Gehrig (who spent
his last two years doing what he could to help get research started against the dread disease he knew would kill him), he's also light years from all
the athletes who've had basic human decency.
And, in a toast to my friend YeahRight, we've heard a few thousand times about the most grievous sins of Robert Knight, but now I've learned from Y.R.
about unreported great deeds of "The General." And I'm a lot more impressed with him than I am with the man I consider the greatest running back in
[Edited on 4/18/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]