Wonders never cease when it comes to the strange positions newspapers can take regarding what seem to be quite simple issues unencumbered with complexities of one kind or another. A few weeks ago, a woman visited the dormitory on the University of Kentucky campus known as “Wildcat Lodge,” so named because all the basketball players in the high-profile basketball enterprise/program (formerly known as simply a team) are domiciled therein. When the building was new, only students connected with the basketball program were allowed to live in the plush residence. Under pressure of some kind from somewhere (some legal entanglement), a handful of other students also had to be admitted, not that any of this has to do with the matter at hand.
The woman, aged 29 and married, entered this sanctuary of the athletically divine at about 12:30 p.m. and departed at 2:30 p.m. – a quick little visit of some two hours, give or take a few minutes or passionate pants, the latter occasioned by the fact that while there she (or somebody) apparently removed her panties. She then went on her way, panties apparently again intact. Later – some 24-36 hours or so – she decided she had been raped and went to a hospital in a neighboring town for a “rape kit” and an apparent examination involved therewith. The evidence thus gained was turned over to the police in that town but later applied to the Lexington police, to whom she lodged a charge of rape against one of the basketball players, noting that she had a bruise on her thigh and drank or somehow otherwise ingested something fishy while in the hallowed halls of Wildcat Lodge.
The news got out. This wouldn’t have been big stuff, except that in Kentucky basketball is somewhat superior to what the Pentecostals call the “second blessing,” the Baptists call “sanctification,” and the Muslims call “Paradise-of-the-72-Virgins.” The player’s name was immediately mentioned in the newspaper, but, of course, the lady of the afternoon (hereinafter referred to as LOTA) was not so “outed,” the paper anxious to protect her good name, even though she had been mentally-challenged enough, apparently, to actually “sign in” at the famous (or now infamous) Lodge. The player, seeing the handwriting on the wall (or on the page, actually) did what a lot of athletes do as a simple reflex, especially since the world-shaking “Kobe Bryant” affair, and got himself a good lawyer, who made the surprising!!! statement that the player noted that he and LOTA had engaged in consensual sex, thigh-bruises (whatever they are) and fishy potions notwithstanding.
In the meantime, the newspaper got in touch with LOTA, though exactly how is unknown in this corner. Indeed they contacted her another time, but her husband told them to bug off. The paper even wrote LOTA a letter; however, the reporters never interviewed the player, but (at least it seemed so) strongly felt that a vicious crime had been committed. The player was smart enough (or at least smart enough to listen to his lawyer) to maintain silence and went on his merry way attempting to get into the NBA at the earliest opportunity, having already furnished proof that he was a big-timer since he already had at least one groupie, with more to come, considering the fortuitous notoriety involved with LOTA.
As 29-year-old-married-LOTAs who hanky-panky with 22-year-old-Gods-Of-The-Hardwood (hereinafter referred to as GOTH[s]) are wont to do at least sometimes, this LOTA soon after changed her course by 180 degrees and declined to cooperate with the police, notwithstanding the rape-kit, bruised thigh, and fishy potion, in further pursuing the errant GOTH, never mind that acronym of barbarianism being the crux of her complaint.
LOTA apparently was given a blood-workup as part of the rape-kit affair or at some appropriate time in the mix, such workup revealing that there was no trace of any drugs in her body, such as a fraternity’s favorite and potent love-potion called Ecstasy, notwithstanding the fishy potion she claimed to have ingested in the Lodge, probably just a “Big Orange Drink” and a “Moon-pie.” Ugh! In other words, the police didn’t any longer have a crime to solve or a charge to make because they no longer had a victim. After all, a bruised thigh could be incurred simply by a swinging door, and, in any case, anyone intent on incapacitating any LOTA would hardly use a baseball bat on her thigh, and certainly not a GOTH, who could inflict incapacitation simply with his strong weight-room-induced well-muscled hands. Incurring a thigh bruise while having sex, even rough sex, may be possible, but…well…
The newspaper, meanwhile, was being cheated of the best gossip/rumor of the whole year, and sued for all kinds of things, such as the sign-in sheet of the Wildcat Lodge used on that memorable afternoon. It got the things it wanted (but not the sign-in sheet), but with certain information, such as LOTA’s name, which they already had anyway, redacted. To make things more interesting, LOTA had a lawyer by this time and threatened to sue for privacy rights anything and everybody, including the city, not moving under its own power. So…the folks at the paper went on a caterwauling spree…screamed about the freedom of the press…the whole nine yards, even though there was no crime at that point, except that LOTA had made a false charge, which is frowned upon by the courts. Being of a magnanimous nature, the police did not charge her with anything, also probably fearing a lawsuit if they did, probably wished her well and suggested she grow up.
The newspaper went the editorial route with this statement by the editor, not just the editorial-page editor: "What is the role of a newspaper in all of this? As always, it is to seek and report the truth, to shine light on dark corners in which official secrets are kept. It is to replace rampant gossip and innuendo with facts. It is to be governed at all times by the charge that the public has a right to know." The reporters talked to LOTA on at least two occasions and obviously knew her identity, but the paper never talked to GOTH. So, naturally...his name was dragged through the mud on what amounted to hearsay as far as the paper was concerned, but it never mentioned LOTA’s name, even though it had direct knowledge regarding her. Could anyone possibly see anything strange in that?
The editor further editorialized: "By this point, in our view, the coverage left all Kentucky basketball players under a cloud. And the rumor mill was churning wildly. Our story identifying [GOTH] not only accurately informed the public but also lifted suspicion off of other players and residents of the Wildcat Lodge." Using the same logic, would the publishing of LOTA’s name have removed suspicion from...well...all the ladies in Kentucky or in the immediate area or maybe even in the world? Does one suppose women in the area are looking at each other and wondering? As it is, alas, the rumor mill is still churning...just who was she...maybe the lady next door...or down the street...those rumors! Rather than spin the paper's actions, it would have been better for the editor to have said nothing, though the editor may not realize the contradiction, of course. If so, more's the pity. This corner considers both fornication and adultery immoral acts, so takes no sides in the matter. Both LOTA and GOTH share equally in the sleaze. It is the paper's duplicity that amazes, especially when no crime was committed.
All this sounds weird and beyond belief…but it happened.