Friday, September 7, 2012

Thoughts on recent Spanish Fort Notoriety

I recently sent the text below (mostly, it's been updated a little in this posting) to a friend regarding recent events in Spanish Fort, Alabama.  Figured maybe I'd share it with you, my faithful three readers!  WARNING: the word "sex" appears in the following, so stay out if that would offend you! :)

First, the sign.  Great "article" by an NBC Sports writer.  Some rebuttal:

"guy in crowd wearing sunglasses during a night game" - um, it was an AFTERNOON game
"your town being taken over by four different countries since 1712" - what the heck does that have to do with anything in your article, moron?
"Spanish Fort High's nickname is the Toros, which is associated with bullfighting, which is glorified animal torture" - must I even respond to this?
"All in all, Spanish Fort fails at being a high school" - thanks; that's really encouraging to all the students, parents, etc. Idiot.

How are you even writing for NBC Sports?  As my wife noted on Facebook, his article is at least as bad as the sign the students had, and they're kids, while he's an adult (maybe?), and has had time to think through this "response" he wrote about it.

The guy starts the article with, "Stay classy, Spanish Fort High School."  He failed to mention that 1) instead of a split-the-pot fundraiser like they usually do, the cheerleaders took up a collection for the Daphne coach who was recently seriously injured in a car accident and is undergoing physical therapy in Atlanta (they collected over $600 - from Spanish Fort parents & fans - to help with whatever needs the family has), or 2) the "moment of silence" at the end of the game to honor the aforementioned Daphne coach.

Another site mentioned "students laughing at the sign" - um, no, they were cheering for having just taken the lead.  The frequently-used screen cap from ESPN shows the score at "18-14" with 1:30 to go - that is, the screen capture was taken from between the go-ahead touchdown (with aforementioned minute and a half to go) and the ensuing extra point attempt (two-point conversion, actually, leading to the 20-14 final score).

Unfortunately, of course, there's the arrest of the star player (Deon Johnson, wide receiver, #13 in the state of college prospects, and University of Alabama commit) for "2nd degree rape and 2nd degree sodomy."  In Alabama, 2nd degree rape is defined as "having intercourse with someone younger than 16, but older than 12, as long at the defendant is at least two years older than the victim" - and then there's the sodomy addition as well.  Of course, officials were notified by the parents of the alleged victim.  What this sounds like to me is this: Johnson got with some girl, which eventually included something like oral sex, and she's probably 15.  Her parents found out somehow, and are pressing charges.  I could be wrong, of course, but very few of the media are pointing at the cause of arrest (and it's potential reasons), instead just saying, "Spanish Fort student charged with rape."  Several articles are calling Alabama to immediately drop him immediately.  For example, this article says, "This is not and should never be an instance where a second chance is allowed. Even to be accused of rape is a serious red flag about someone's character, and there's no room for that type of person on a college football team, especially for a program as prestigious as Alabama."  Um, "being accused of something is a serious red flag about someone's character"?  Really?  If he's guilty, then by all means, let's destroy his life, but if it's a case of consensual sex that happens to be with a minor high school girl, is that worth destroying his life?  And if he's not guilty of anything, then we shouldn't be pointing the fingers, now, should we?  (He's 18 - technically an "adult" - but really, he's still a kid, just like the alleged victim; this post notes that "The basis of the charge is the age of the person. And that is less than the age of consent which is 16. And he [Johnson] exceeds the 24-month requirement meaning he is more than 24 months older".)  Johnson turned himself in when the charges were filed (and is now out on $20k bond).

At any rate, life in Spanish Fort certainly isn't boring this week!  I just hope that the kids at SFHS aren't too negatively affected from all this "great publicity."  Already they're "disciplining the students" for the sign incident (really? for saying, "Man, that's gay!" as a "trash talk football banner"?)... hopefully it won't become a case of disciplining the whole student body and neighborhood for years to come.

Am I off base?  Your thoughts?


Ninfa said...

The whole situation is just sad. With my past you know if he is guilty of hurting that girl I will be the first to say put him behind bars. However,to take everything away from him because he and this girl made a choice to have sex and now her parents are mad is a serious life destroying situation. Should they have had sex? No. That being said, his entire future rests on how this plays out. If they agreed to have sex and he is convicted of rape he will have to register as a sex offender every place he goes to live. I am all about protecting the child victims and you know that... but it has not really been made clear that she was a "victim" in this situation (at least not in the definition I use). We need to reserve punishment (and ultimately destroying his career) for when all facts are revealed. No matter what though this will always haunt them both. Sad...

Tony M said...

Also, failed to mention in the article, the Daphne coach spoke very highly of how well he thought Spanish Fort treated the Daphne coaches, team, and fans, and as my friend replied (in e-mail), the author also failed to mention that Spanish Fort school system is one of the better school systems in the area (and state) and that people move to Spanish Fort just for the schools.