In 2008, this writer fell in love with basketball. However, the love of the game did not go beyond NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. Not even King Lebron James came close.
While still struggling to expand the love in the post-retirement era of Kobe Bryant; tragedy struck with the death of the basketball legend and eight others, including his daughter; Gianna, in a helicopter crash in California, USA.
The love-in with Kobe Bryant is similar to the same manner many in Nigeria fell in love with football; because of Ronaldinho Gaucho. Kobe’s appearance, his charisma won souls without effort. His death is reverberating around the world, with a huge out-pouring of love and grief.
Unfortunately, at a time of grief, an attempt was made to bring up rape allegations against Kobe Bryant again. No doubt, death should not absolve anyone of any guilt. However, the court of opinion is at the risk of setting standards beyond reach; if indeed to err is man, and to forgive is divine. After all, Kobe was nothing but human.
Evan Racheal had tweeted shortly after the announcement of Kobe’s death. She tweeted: “What happened is tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of this truth can exist simultaneously.”
This tweet above, from a deleted account; is just one of the many other tweets posted by several people on Twitter.
I will mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant and feel bad for his family while also remembering that the man got away with rape and that the woman he assaulted is now going to have to re-live the horror of it all over again as media and cruel people attack her and venerate him.
— Andy Grabia (@agrabia) January 26, 2020
Yes Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he’s also faced a very credible rape accusation where the woman was choked and submitted to a rape-kit test which found injuries “not consistent with consensual sex.”https://t.co/HsItwC7VaC
— Nathan McDermott (@natemcdermott) January 26, 2020
Of course, death is not redemption; but to reduce a man’s entire life to an incident he already issued a public apology for; and for which an out-of-court settlement was reached, is a tad unfair.
Kobe Bryant: A flawed man like the rest of us but deserving of honour in death
It is practically impossible to separate the man; the brilliant athlete, the husband, the philanthropist, the alleged rapist.
However, should his entire life be defined by this?
No one is canonizing Kobe. Like every human, he had his flaws. Perhaps he indeed raped that girl 17 years ago. Perhaps he did smear the girl in the media to intimidate and harass her to prevent her from testifying. These are questions that the court of law could provide answers to. But both parties had agreed to settle out of court.
The many admirers of Kobe should be allowed to reminisce the memory of the genius; albeit a flawed man like the rest of us.
Celebrities will always be at risk of making mistakes despite their power and resources. Consequently, we judge them to a higher moral standard than most, which is commendable. To whom much is given, much is expected.
Hence, the moral standard should be upheld. Nevertheless, we should learn to forgive when contrition and genuine remorse is shown.
Kobe has lived a life that is inspiring after the unfortunate incident. This is in no way trying to shut up those who hold a contrary view. However, as humans, we must make room for redemption.
RIP to the Black Mamba!
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