07/26/09 - From The Bleacher Report: According to the Maricopa, Arizona Police Department, on July 16, 2009 four boys ranging from the age of nine to fourteen lured an eight year girl into an empty shed and brutally raped her. The 14 year old was charged as an adult and the other three will face juvenile charges.
As I learned of this story I was shocked and appalled by the sheer terror this eight year old must be facing. I also wondered what will become of all these little children?
There can be no doubt that lives have been ruined. In fact, in what may be the most shocking aspect of this case the family of the eight year old victim-of an African culture known to blame rape victims for their own suffering-has shunned the little girl. According to Sgt. Andy Hill of the Maricopa Police Department the girl's father said that 'SHE' had brought shame on the family and he did not want her back.
Is there any doubt her life is going to be adversely effected for a long time to come by this heinous crime and her family's response to it?
What about the little boys? Perhaps the adult charges filed against the 14 year old indicate that authorities consider him to be the ring leader? What of the nine, ten and thirteen year olds? Will they become hardened criminals or menaces to society?
Perhaps if Lane Kiffin, or someone like him, is still coaching college football in 2015 they can be awarded full scholarships to one of the nation's finest universities.
That's preposterous, you say. There is no way any self-respecting College Football Coach would take a risk on kids with this on their record. Even if a coach is willing to take the risk surely the university would step in and over-rule the coach for the sake of the University’s reputation and integrity, right?
Let’s not forget about Daniel Hood.
Lane Kiffin signed Hood, a 6 foot 5, 240 pound defensive end from Knoxville’s Catholic High School to a full scholarship, which will allow him to wear Tennessee’s Big Orange jersey as a representative of the Volunteers' football program (and University) starting this fall.
According to Kiffin at the SEC Media Days “It’s something that he’s learned from”, he went on to say that the story was being ‘portrayed’ a certain way by the media but that if you ‘researched it enough’ to know the ‘exact story’ you might see it differently.
The justifications for signing Hood range from ‘giving the kid a second chance’ to ‘the victim forgave him, and sent a nice letter so should we’ with a few ‘he learned from his mistakes’ thrown in for good measure.
That’s why I think we should look at the recent case of the four boys and the eight year old. In five years the 13, 10 and nine year olds will have ‘paid their debt’ to society. By all accounts the victim will have been made to believe it was her fault by her own Father, no less, and the 14 year old will likely still be in prison having been convicted as an adult and considered the ‘ring leader’.
If it turns out between now and then that the 13 year old can play football at a very high level would you want him to sign with your school to wear it’s jersey and represent your colors?
The bottom line is this; Kiffin has taken a huge risk with his school’s reputation and legal liability. If Hood is a model citizen for four years and a great football player then he will be one of many for Tennessee and it will be said that he did well with his ‘chance’. On the other hand, as he gets himself acclimated to the college lifestyle where he has a lot more freedoms and opportunities to show his true colors he could destroy Kiffin and the Big Orange Nation if he gets into any trouble, particularly if it is of an illicit nature.
For the sake of decency let’s hope that it all works out, but really Mr. Kiffin, is it worth the risk?
Contributed by Henry Ball (a.k.a. Southern Man) – Independent Writer and Bleacher Report Scribe.