Wednesday, July 12, 2000
by Will Stewart, HokieCentral.com
JR Board Convicts Roberts, Mims
Last week, the news broke that Rolan Roberts has been suspended from Virginia Tech for a year by the university's Judicial Review Board. The charges he was "convicted" of by the board are assault and sexual misconduct. Arising from the same incident, fellow basketball player Dennis Mims was convicted of assault.
Roberts was suspended from Tech for the 2000-2001 academic school year, while Mims was placed on "deferred suspension," which still leaves him eligible to attend school and play basketball. Both cases are on appeal with the JR Board, and Roberts has said that if his conviction and suspension stand, he will likely leave Tech for good.
The two players were convicted as a result of a charge by a female Tech student, who says the two players raped her on January 29th. Criminal charges were never filed. The Blacksburg Police Department investigated the incident in concert with the office of the Montgomery County Commonwealth Attorney, and found insufficient evidence to press charges.
For the full story, please refer to last Friday's Roanoke Times report. And if you want to find out more about University Policies for Student Life and the JR process, visit Tech's Office of Judicial Affairs Home Page.
I held back commenting on this development, because to be honest, it's getting to where it takes days to think of anything new to say about this stuff. Having talked to sources close to both sides of the situation, I can report that this is very much a repeat of the "he said, she said" arguments that are all too familiar from 1995's Morrison/Crawford/Brzonkala situation and 1999's Jim Druckenmiller situation.
The victim maintains she was raped. The accused say they did nothing wrong. And I have one question: just what the hell is going on here?
One incident such as this, and maybe even two, can be shrugged off, but when it continues to occur, it behooves a reasonable, rational person to start wondering how young men and young women can continue to interpret each other so wrongly, to the point where one party sees it as consensual sex, while the other party sees it as rape. You can't get much farther apart than those two viewpoints.
I have some theories about how these situations arise.
For one, many male athletes appear to be losing their grip on reality when it comes to how they view women, and what they can and can't do with the women that surround them. I suspect that today's athletes have many groupies and hangers-on who willingly and enthusiastically submit to whatever wish the athletes have -- so many, in fact, that when the athletes encounter a woman who is not willing to participate in those sorts of acts, the athletes often have trouble interpreting the signals they're getting, or rather not getting, from those women. They take advantage of the women, because they assume that's what the women want, and when the charge of rape arises, they're totally surprised by it and maintain their innocence.
As for the women, I think they foolishly trust the men to understand what they do and don't want to do. They put themselves in dangerous situations, never suspecting that the situation will wind up where it does. In 1995, Christy Brzonkala reportedly went into a dorm and up to Morrison's and Crawford's room after they called out the window to her, despite the fact that she had been drinking and had never met them before. Not a smart move, but she did it.
In 1999, Jim Druckenmiller's accuser was so drunk the night that the incident occurred that she blacked out for large portions of the night. She, too, was not smart and put herself in a dangerous situation where she couldn't even control her own actions, much less Druckenmiller's.
Now, I suspect we have a similar situation, although the facts are not known to the general public. This case played itself out in front of the Tech Judicial Review Board, where the evidence is confidential, not in a public court of law, where testimony and evidence are publicly revealed. In any event, we can only assume that the victim in this case wound up in a situation more dangerous than she had anticipated, much like Brzonkala and Druckenmiller's accuser.
And when you throw alcohol and/or drugs into the mix, all bets are off. Alcohol played a part in Brzonkala's case and in Druckenmiller's case. We don't know if it played a part in this latest situation.
What floors me is that these incidents continue to occur, despite the fact that each time they do, they play themselves out very publicly, where they should serve as a warning to young men and young women. But kids are kids, and one characteristic of the young is that they repeat the same mistakes over and over and over.
So perhaps I'm talking to the wall when I say this, but I've got one piece of advice for all you young men out there, whether you're a well-known athlete or not: keep it in your pants. The large, large majority of one-night stands don't result in rape accusations, but if you don't even have the one-night stand to begin with, I can guarantee you that the chances of a rape accusation dwindle down to nothing.
Yes, I know you're all young, with raging hormones, and yes, I know you're bombarded with sexual imagery from a very young age, much more so than my generation was, back in the days when no one had cable or VCR's, and all you could see on your TV was what the Big Three networks transmitted into your antenna -- and that was pretty sanitized. But it's time to take a look around and see what's happening and ask yourself one question: is it worth it?
Tony Morrison, James Crawford, Jim Druckenmiller, Rolan Roberts, and Dennis Mims can all answer that one for you.
The question keeps surfacing on the message board as to the status of Tech football players Andre Kendrick and Derrius Monroe.
Kendrick was suspended academically for the spring semester and had to take summer school classes to bring his grades back up. The Tech football coaches have expressed confidence all along that school would go well for Kendrick and that he would be back this fall, and indeed, it was reported by Roanoke.com columnist Carol Hart that Andre got an A and a B in his two summer school classes and has been reinstated to the team.
Now, as to whether he has the starting job at tailback, that's up to Billy Hite.
Monroe is facing a felony charge of cocaine distribution. Under Tech's Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) covering athlete behavior, he was suspended from the team and missed spring football (a very critical spring for Derrius, given that he is the only returning defensive end from last year's two-deep rotation).
Monroe's trial is scheduled for this Friday, July 14th, at 9:00 a.m. If he is convicted of the felony, he is gone for good, according to the CAP. If he plea bargains down to a misdemeanor (possession, perhaps?), then his status is up to Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver. If he is acquitted, he is more than likely back on the team.
Much like Kendrick's situation, the Tech coaches have expressed confidence for months that Derrius will be returning to the team. We shall see. Again, when he missed spring football this year, it was the worst time he could have done so, because he is being counted on for a lot this year.