So here's Kobe Bryant, tripping along in his own world, pretty much
controlling things tightly, and now this: a sexual assault charge. To sum
up, both parties have now claimed that there was sex, but Bryant says it was
There's not really enough evidence made public yet to form an opinion, but a
couple of things make you kind of wonder: if she was working at the front
desk, why did she go to his room? And if he was there for knee surgery,
how bad was the knee? Simply put: could he do what he is accused of
doing? Our guess is it was pretty minor surgery, but we don't keep up with
After the alleged assault, both parties did go to the hospital, which also
makes you wonder, though Bryant may have had a scheduled appointment for all
anyone knows (it's not like we've been told what time they went to the
Part of this doesn't really make any sense, at least if you believe the image
that Bryant has constructed. We've sort of come to think of him as a
loner, a guy who grew up in a different culture, who didn't really fit in with
his teammates, and who is essentially an introvert in some ways. It's not
that introverts can't be vicious; they can. And even a modest perusal of
human nightmares like Kosovo or the Congo or the rape of Nanking will show you
people who are normally under control but who can lose it very quickly when
social structures are not in place.
The capacity for wickedness, in other words, is broad and deep, and Kobe
Bryant is as capable of it as any other human being. Does that mean we
think he did it? No, not necessarily. But we do think he's capable of it,
just as most people are.
It doesn't help that he, like all professional athletes, live in a world
where women are really easy to get: they line up outside the gyms, they send
nude photographs, they knock on their hotel room doors at 2 in the morning.
For a young man, this cannot lead to what the rest of us would consider a normal
life, and while sex is available literally whenever he wants it, the flipside is
the lack of intimacy, the necessary suspicion, the quiet contempt for anything
beyond intercourse: what's she after? If you are in Bryant's
shoes and don't think that, you are an idiot.
In a roundabout way, this gets back to our argument about the respective
values of education and money. We're not saying that had Kobe gone to
college none of this would have happened. But it's fair to say if he had
gone to college, he would be more broadly read, and some of his perceptions of
the world might have been changed. He certainly would have spent
more time around intellectually curious women, and that never hurt anyone and
would have been a lot better than being around women who are competing to score
The other part is that while he was obviously well-paid, until he was 21, he
had little to do on the road, and like Kevin Garnett, spent way too much time in
hotels. Those of you who have been or who are in college know that the
classroom education is only part of it. The other part is the chance to
mature around people your own age. You don't make money doing that, but
you also don't sit in hotel rooms for nights on end playing solitaire.
None of that matters now, just like Kobe's image doesn't matter
anymore. If he forced himself on that girl, he should go to jail. If
he didn't, if the girl is lying, what punishment is there for her?
No matter how you look at it, it's just another human tragedy. One
person is lying, and one is being victimized. Here's hoping the court
sorts it out thoroughly.