Friday, March 31, 2006

Trangressions I

I've decided to start compiling incidents of "bad behavior" by and among athletes (and the peeps that surround them, too). I don't know why exactly. I imagine I might I want to draw on them at some later time. I will probably establish some parameters as I go along because if not I would be adding installments every day. For now I am going with things I witness and things that seem to have created a stir. I am not including doping incidents--that's a beast unto itself and amateur already covers it and in a much better way than I ever could.
I imagine I might break these rules and redefine the terms as I go.
But for the first installment I have 2 transgressions:
The first is mentioned over on The Dees Diversions where I also commented. In her win (due to retirement because of injury) over Tatiana Golovin last night at the Nasdaq-100 Tournment in Miami, Maria Sharapova took some very convenient bathroom breaks seemingly in an attempt to disrupt Golovin's concentration. Bathroom breaks are frequently used for this purpose and women can invoke them more often without scrutiny because they used them to change their shirts/dresses. But Sharapova's first break was an "emergency" one that the chair told her she couldn't take but Sharapova went above her to a tournament official aand got permission. I am sure it was an emergency in Sharapova's mind: she was about to lose the second set to Golovin who had climbed out of a 1-5 deficit and was about to serve for the set. How often do these kinds of things happen in tennis? All the time it seems. I could come up with at least half a dozen (recent) examples in less than a minute I would guess. What's interesting is that these transgressions are not frequently reported or in any way problematized. Hence my newfound interest in documenting them.
The second incident is of a much more serious nature. I don't have too much to say about it as the case and investigation are still pending but I feel it's important to report. Members of the Duke lacrosse team have been implicated (DNA evidence is pending) in the rape of a woman the team hired as an exotic dancer. In addition to the gendered violence is the racial violence. The woman, an African-American, has said racial slurs were uttered during the rape--allegedly perpetrated by three of the team members. Many are upset at the university's handling of the incident. A few games were forfeited because of the actual party which adminsitration considered a misconduct but no other actions have been taken yet. The history of violent sexual assault on women by male athletes is long and it seems that people at Duke--and beyond, it's been a hot topic on my women's studies listserv--are looking for some justice and they want it doled out in North Carolina.
The lawyer for the team has said he is certain none of the DNA evidence will implicate any of the team members. But the DA has countered that other evidence exists. We shall see what happens. Though it seems "scandals" such as these are not that uncommon, it rarely seems suitable punishments are meted out by either the criminal justice system or the school administrations.
Sorry to end on such a depressing note, especially for a Friday. Hopefully good things will happen at the first major in women's golf this weekend that I can talk about on Monday.

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