Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Day Twenty-Nine: Darren Sharper

I, like most of America, have a very short attention span.  We watch the news, see a breaking story, and follow it until a new breaking story comes.  I say this because yesterday, while I was reading the news on my lunch break, I saw an article on Darren Sharper.  I had honestly forgotten that dude has been in jail for the last year.  I was taken aback.
I still can't get over the fact that Darren Sharper, the handsome, dapper safety for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and New Orleans Saints is accused of horrific crimes.  The 5x Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ stands accused of two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance in the Los Angeles case, and he has been charged with three counts of rape in New Orleans, two in Arizona, and a pending two cases in Las Vegas.

I'll admit I was a Darren Sharper fan. He was a great player, good looking, fun to watch, and even after retirement I would watch him on NFL Network. He seemed like a good guy doing charity work, and bragging on his daughter.  You know, I wanted to give him the benefit of a doubt.  I really did when he was first arrested and charged in Los Angeles.  In America, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but then, the investigations into his behavior started popping up all over the map. 

This wasn't some lovesick "groupie" trying to score a huge payday with a good-looking athlete. This was something much darker.  To hear how he "allegedly" lured two young ladies to his hotel room, drugged them, and then raped one then the other made me sick to my stomach.  Then, came the stories of the young lady all the way across the county in Miami whose case was dropped because of insufficient evidence, then New Orleans (with a former cop as an accomplice no less), then Arizona, and finally Las Vegas.  There are at least eight women in five different states.  I can't even pretend that there is a conspiracy.  Not only did he "allegedly" rape these women, he drugged them.  These cases could have easily become murder cases as well. Mixing alcohol with controlled substances like morphine and Ambien could have easily triggered a bad reaction and permanently damaged or killed these young ladies who had already suffered such a horrific trauma. 

I have heard too many stories of bad reactions when people are drugged.  I don't drink alcohol, for many reasons, but when I was in college, the few times I went to parties, clubs, or bars, I always ordered a bottle of water or bottle of soda.  I would keep the cap on until I wanted a sip. If I danced, it was always between my fingers.  If I took my eyes off of it for a second, I wouldn't drink from it again. Even today, I'm leery of drinks that I haven't seen poured in front of me. It's sad that I have these thoughts when out instead of enjoyment.  My grandmother even preached pants on a first date, have your own money, and keep your keys handy.

Let's be honest, most of us would have done the same thing if a good-looking, charming, former professional athlete who we "think" we know because we have seen him on our television screens weekly for years asked us to go to his hotel room for a drink.  I would like to think that I would have waited in the lobby, but who knows what you would do.  People make bad decisions when they are star-struck.  That does not give him the right to drug and rape these young ladies.  All those years on the field cheering him on the field, who knew this darkness lurked beneath the surface.  Now, he is faces up to 30 years in Los Angeles, life in New Orleans, and I imagine similar time in Arizona and Nevada if the charges move forward.  Now, he has become a lesson.

Until next time, I leave you with this from Kurt Cobain, “Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.”― Kurt Cobain
Update:  March 21, 2014, it was announced that Sharper was seeking a plea deal and will enter a plea of guilty Monday for a global plea deal to cover all the charges in all for states.  The details of the plea will not be revealed until Monday, March 30.  It is said that he will receive "significant time."

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