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From the Kitchen Table


The Real War on Women

by Peg Luksik
 

We have all heard the tired political rhetoric from the political left about the political right's supposed war on women.

Sadly, the tired political rhetoric is distracting attention from a real war.

In the past week, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was the talk of the nation for his reprehensible racist comments. The words were inexcusable.

There is no evidence, however, that Mr. Sterling had broken any laws in his ownership practices. Of the team's 14 players, 12 were black. There is no indication that there was any discrimination in the salary amounts between the black players and the non-black players. There is also no evidence that Mr. Sterling was physically violent with any of his players.

The NBA decided that for his comments...

he would be banned from the NBA for life, fined $2.5 million, and forced to sell the team.

Obviously, the NBA thinks that making racist comments about people is an extremely serious offense.

What does the NBA think about violence against women?

To answer that question, let us consider the case of Ruben Patterson.

In 2001, Mr. Patterson pled guilty on a third degree rape charge, and was required to register in the state of Washington as a sex offender. The plea bargain was struck so the case did not have to go to trial and negative publicity for Mr. Patterson could be avoided.

At the time of the offense Mr. Patterson was a Portland Trailblazer.

A July 22, 2004 ABC news report on the NBA and crime described the incident:

Patterson's victim was a 23-year-old woman, who agreed to be identified as "Jenny." Jenny says Patterson assaulted her in 2000 when she was working as his children's nanny. She said Patterson followed her down the hall naked one night and grabbed her.

"The more I was resisting, the angrier he was getting," she said. Jenny told police Patterson forced her to perform oral sex.

"When you get into the documents and the transcript … you find out it's a brutal crime," said lawyer and journalist Jeff Benedict, who researched the case for his new book, Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence and Crime.

"He basically palms a girl's head like a basketball and has her perform a sex act on him that anybody who knew about that would say, 'This is outrageous,' " Benedict said.

Mr. Patterson was sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine to the court, all court costs for the trial, $500 plus lost wages to the nanny he attacked, and to serve 15 days in jail. He was permitted to serve those 15 days at his home during the off-season.

The NBA response was to suspend Mr. Patterson for 5 games without pay, which cost Mr. Patterson about $500,000.

On the day after Mr. Patterson finished his 15 day at-home sentence, the Trailblazers held a press conference to announce his new $33 million contract.

So Mr. Sterling made nasty comments that were leaked to the media and the NBA banned him for life, imposed a fine of $2.5 million, and is forcing him to sell his team.

Mr. Patterson pled guilty to third degree rape and the NBA allowed him to receive a new $33 million contract.

Evidently, in the NBA hierarchy of unacceptable behavior, sexually assaulting a woman is not even close to being as bad as making nasty comments about someone's race.

Is there a war on women?

Absolutely.


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