The topic of domestic/sexual abuse is not an easy topic to discuss, but a topic that rightly deserves recognition. In sports, sexual assault seems to be an issue that cannot be stopped.
It seems to be an issue all but disappearing. The topic is one that cannot be overlooked or gains enough attention. However, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the perfect time to highlight some of the biggest sexual assault incidents in sports.
Sports fan or not, this one should sound familiar. Larry Nassar was once the head doctor for the USA Gymnastic team as well as part of the medical staff at Michigan State University. Nassar name was a household name at the time of his court case and not for the right response.
He was accused of molesting over 250 girls and young women while at Michigan State and with Team USA. His court case made national headlines and opened many eyes on the subject of sexual assault.
His sentence was for a minimum of 40 years all the way up to 175 years in federal prison. Nassar’s court case and overall actions hit many very hard and opened many eyes on sexual assault.
Since his court case and sentencing in late 2017, the country has definitely taken pride in ensuring nothing like this will ever happen again. National Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a great step in the right direction.
The most recent sexual assault allegation involves an NBA superstar who hasn’t appeared in a game in over a year.
Kristaps Porzingis, who was traded from the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks back in late January, has been accused of beating and raping an African American woman back in February 2018.
The woman explained that she waited over a year to bring up the allegations because she was promised $68,000 in hush money from the NBA All-Star that she never received. Porzingis has denied the allegations and the NYPD is investigating.
Kareem Hunt & Tyreek Hill
The former Kansas City Chief teammates who use to ball together now fall together. For Hunt, a video surfaced from February 2018 of him pushing and kicking a young woman which resulted in the Chiefs releasing him in December 2018. Hunt was signed by the Cleveland Browns this past February, however, he is currently suspended by the NFL for the first 8 games of the 2019-2020 season.
Hill, who enjoyed a breakout 2018 season, is currently under investigation for battery. Hill is no stranger to domestic violence. He reportedly punched and choked Crystal Espinal, his girlfriend at the time, who was then eight weeks pregnant with their son, on December 11, 2014.
He was arrested and dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team. Hill pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation in August 2015. He received three years of probation. He’s currently under investigation for abuse to his son, who is now 3 years old.
The ex-goalkeeper for the US Women’s National Team, Hope Solo has been involved in assault accusations multiple times, one time pertaining against her and the other pertaining for her.
In June 2014, Solo was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree, one against her half-sister and the other against her nephew. After pleading not guilty, she was released the following day.
On January 13, 2015, the judge dismissed the charges against Solo based on a lack of cooperation from both alleged victims. Solo claimed she was defending herself from an attack by her nephew, who is 6 feet 9 inches.
Solo was not only involved in an assault but experienced sexual assault case herself. Solo accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexual assault at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in January 2013.
Solo said she experienced “Sepp Blatter grab my ass” before she went on stage to present the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year award to teammate Abby Wambach. Blatter was ousted from FIFA in 2015 and given a six-year ban for violating the code of ethics.
Professionals athletes at the end of the day are human beings who eat, sleep, and work just like us. However, their transgressions are magnified because of the position they are in.
They are looked up to millions of people and have been afforded the luxuries of making money by playing sports as a form of entertainment for society.
This does not excuse their actions but places a higher standard on how to conduct themselves as players on the field, and decent human beings off it.
Sexual assault should not be acceptable in any circumstance, and athletes in the position of power to influence the public should not be the ones committing these acts.
They should be the ones combating it by continuing to promote sexual assault awareness amongst peers and society as a whole.