The University of Oregon’s mens basketball team announced Monday that Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin have all been suspended indefinitely from team activities. Oregon made the decision stemming from a rape investigation where a police report names the three players as men that led a woman into a bathroom and forced her into sexual activity.
News such as this is nothing new, though it is something that needs to not be swept under the rug. I won’t go into the graphic details of the event because even reading the story myself made my stomach knot up. However, if you’d like to find out more details of it, the police report filed in Eugene can be found here.
This is not the first time high profile college athletes have been involved in cases such as this and it certainly won’t be the last. We’re all familiar with Florida State’s quarterback Jameis Winston who, in the midst of winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship for the Seminoles in football this past season, was facing rape allegations. Eventually, it was found that there was not enough evidence to continue with the investigation. It does not mean Winston didn’t force that young lady into sex, it just means too much time passed between the incident and the potential indictment for the case to have any standing.
In this particular instance, the specifics are extremely disheartening. After the bathroom incident, the three players decided to lead the woman to their apartment and continue the assault. As all three players and the victim were highly intoxicated, she could not fight back, though, according to the police report, she made several gestures to make them stop, as well as verbally expressing her displeasure with the situation.
No matter how you swing this story, it’s wrong. The fact that they were drunk does not take away from the fact that Dotson, Artis and Austin are accused of doing something very wrong. While we don’t know all of the details aside from the police report, we cannot ignore what has reportedly happened. Incidents such as this happen far too often in today’s world and it’s become increasingly evident in the world of sports; specifically college sports.
These athletes, with their glitz and glamour and high popularity in their respective college towns, begin to feel invincible. All the men want to be in their position and all the women want to be with them. Or so they think. It’s the mentality that because you’re a star on the court, you’re a star in everyday life. That’s just not the case. You’ll notice in the police report that if they weren’t basketball players, the victim would’ve had no idea who they are. These three guys allegedly took advantage of a defenseless girl, accused of ganging up on her in search of sexual pleasure.
With the Winston case, many people (mostly supporters of FSU and/or Winston) felt the victim just wanted attention. In this case, the victim asked for the three players to get a “slap on the wrist” because she didn’t want to “ruin their lives.” From that statement alone, one should be able to see where college athletics stand for some people. A victim of an alleged rape didn’t want to “ruin their lives,” even though her life has changed forever. Oregon was supposed to be a very talented team, one that could challenge for the Pac-12 championship this season. Now, with their roster gutted, the Ducks will be lucky to be a middle-of-the-pack team.
Rape and sexual assault are things that cannot and should not be taken lightly. We’ve seen what being a victim of these incidences have to deal with. We rarely see what happens to those that are accused of committing the crime unless they are formally prosecuted. We don’t know what exactly is going to happen and only a handful of people know exactly what happened on that Saturday night at a house party.
All we can do is open our eyes and see that this is not a rare occurrence. These things happen all the time without anybody knowing it. Had it not been for the victim’s father bringing the case to the police, the victim may not have even said anything. That’s where the problem lies. Athletes such as Artis, Dotson and Austin using their status as basketball players in an athletics-centered college town often take advantage of their situations and the people around them. It’s a troubling turn of events, but it’s something that happens more than we think or care to know about.
Oregon’s in trouble on the basketball court. That much is for certain. What’s uncertain right now is how the Eugene police will handle the investigation. Could there possibly be some politics involved like there was (possibly) in the Jameis Winston case? We just don’t know. All we can do is hope that justice is served, no matter what that may be.
There’s a darker side to college athletics that we rarely see. Now that we’re seeing it more and more, the question we have to ask is what has become of the sports and the athletes that we love to root for?