Adam and Eve started all this stuff, and eons later the snake still hisses in the Garden of Eden that now is American sports.
Good and evil hovers over all of us, but in the Garden if the muscles are big enough, the legs fast enough, the arms strong enough, the head hard enough, all is forgiven.
The latest example came in last week’s Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.
The night before the game, Kansas State’s starting quarterback, Ell Roberson, spent some late night and early morning time in his hotel room, appropriately located in Paradise Valley, studying plays with a 22-year-old young lady graduate of Kansas State.
Exactly what happened is a matter of dispute. Roberson, using the Kobe Bryant defense, says he and the young lady engaged in consensual sex.
The lady says otherwise, and charges of sexual assault were filed.
Those who side with Adam in this age-old argument may ask what the lady was doing in Roberson’s hotel room at 3 a.m. There are a number of possibilities. She could have been helping him cram for coming final exams. She could have been discussing the beauties of the campus in Manhattan. She could have been going over pictures in the Kansas State yearbook.
Whatever was going on, she was upset enough to subject herself to the glaring spotlight of national scrutiny and scorn.
Think about this for a moment.
Do you think she would have done that because Roberson refused to share a bag of Tostitos provided by the sponsor?
Is it possible they were playing Scrabble, and Roberson cheated by building a word not in the dictionary, and got rough over the ensuing argument?
Or perhaps the former coed was brazen enough to suggest that Ohio State was a better football team than the Wildcats, and Roberson, incensed, slapped her around a bit.
After reflection, none of those possibilities seems adequate to explain why the young lady would step forth and put on the Scarlet Sweater of a jock’s reluctant girl friend.
It would seem she might have cause, because consensual sex could not have been that bad.
So what about Kansas State? Faced with a public charge of sexual abuse against its starting quarterback, and the possibility of losing him for a major bowl game worth millions, what do you think Kansas State should have done?
Are you kidding? This was the Fiesta Bowl, buddy, and if a kid has a little fiesta of his own, so what? He would play.
Badly, it turned out, spraying un-catchable passes all over the field, but play nonetheless.
In American sports at high levels, the credo is that boys will be boys.
Of all of the sports pictures of 2003, one stands out most vividly.
It was the press conference of a gulping Kobe Bryant, swallowing hard and jaws contracting, holding hands with his gorgeous young wife, who was looking adoringly into the eyes of her husband whose defense was that his dalliance in a Colorado resort was consensual sex.
The next most vivid picture was the cordon of fans, also adoring, cheering wildly as Kobe made his first public appearance after the charges, and later as he took the court in his Lakers uniform.
Kansas State officials weighed ”” very briefly ”” whether to let Roberson play. It didn’t take them long to make their decision. The Fiesta Bowl is a multi-million dollar enterprise. A little thing like a charge of sexual assault should not hinder possible success.
This was not a case of being innocent until proved guilty, as some claim. It was a case of bad judgment in not benching a star athlete, bowl game or not, until the serious charges against him are either proved or disproved.
There used to be something called bed check in sports, conducted by coaches to make sure the boys were all tucked in by curfew.
It has taken on a new meaning of its own in sports these days.