Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is being investigated by Chicago police over an allegation of sexual assault.
Kang has not been charged with a crime. He is considered a "person of interest" in this investigation, which is still in the information-gathering and evidence collection phase.
A 23-year-old woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by Kang, 29, on June 17, when the Pirates were in Chicago to play the Cubs, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told ESPN.
We see multiple dozens of cases every year involving male athletes accused of some variety of sexual misconduct. It’s beyond sad that the fight against one of our most pervasive societal cancers has to make the A-block in SportsCenter just for more than half the country to acknowledge that it’s a problem, and even worse that only a few of these cases – the larger scandals like those at Baylor and Penn State, or those involving sports’ bigger names – get people to start thinking about what’s right versus what isn’t.
More often than not, they don’t, and we react to these stories thusly:
“Big Ben is suspended for four games? Man, it’s going to be tough for the Steelers to come back from that. Who’s going to start?”
“It’s good to get these games against the Yankees out of the way before Chapman comes back from suspension.”
Hell, why limit ourselves to historical/straw-man arguments? Here’s some shit people have actually written on the internet about this story since it broke yesterday:
Victim blaming, always a classic.
Extortion? First, I don't think these guys know that word. Second, false accusations have become incredibly easy to weed out. They're the exception, not the rule.
He couldn't have done it because he doesn't speak English? He's being investigated for rape, not handing in a fake term paper on the Teapot Dome Scandal.
Those pesky women get away with everything!
This one surprised me. There are people who would sooner believe that the Cubs organization orchestrated this entire thing than even acknowledge the possibility that a guy who has his own face tattooed on his leg would rape a woman.
Finally, we have our resident constitutional scholars.
Ah, the fanboy classic, “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! IS THIS NOT AMERICA?”
People who think that the “innocent until proven guilty” standard applies to private businesses and public opinion are the same people who have turned into Facebook partisans because they think Wendy Bell’s firing violated her first amendment rights.
"IS THIS NOT AMERICA?"
Sadly, this is America. And in America, we don’t empathize with the victims of sexual assault – especially if their attackers are players the Pirates need if they are going to have a chance to catch the Cubs in the NL Central.
For not yet having been charged, the story on Kang's role in this is awfully detailed. And creepy.
Police said Kang and the woman met on the dating app "Bumble," which states that the woman must initiate contact. Kang then asked the woman to go to his hotel room; when she arrived, she was given an alcoholic beverage, Guglielmi said.The woman blacked out about 15 to 20 minutes after consuming the drink and then alleges she was sexually assaulted as she drifted in and out of consciousness, Guglielmi said.The woman told police she didn't become fully aware of her surroundings until she was in a taxi en route to her home. She went to a hospital on June 19, where a rape kit was done, Guglielmi said. Guglielmi declined to say whether the results from the examination have come back.The woman's formal complaint to police came 10 days later, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing sources.
Sadly, I don’t trust the Pirates will do the right thing, because I don’t trust any sports organization to do the right thing.
Sports organizations are largely male-dominated entities, and what they know and learn of rape culture is at best, exclusively aimed at protecting their assets and brand. At worst, their collective knowledge extends to damage control measures.
But I can think of two reasons they should:
- It’s the right thing. They don’t need another reason.
- Because no sports organization ever does the right thing, simply doing the right thing has the potential to move the ongoing conversation we have about rape culture and sports in the right direction. By taking swift and decisive action, the Pirates can be the first professional sports organization to stand up and say, “we’re not going to put up with this bullshit.”