[Content Note: rape, domestic violence]
In 2010, Darren Sharper was the hero of New Orleans: an All-Pro safety who led the Saints to Super Bowl glory. Now retired and working for the NFL Network, Darren Sharper has been formally charged with multiple sexual assaults and is suspected to have raped at least nine women across five states. In California, he has been arrested and charged with drugging the drinks of two women before raping them. His bail was not only set at $1 million but Judge Renee Korn ordered that a condition of his release would be a legal agreement to not be alone with women he didn’t know before October 30. Korn said, “The court considers these crimes quite serious and has to evaluate the protection of the public.”
What Sharper has done is horrific. He is a serial rapist. And we should care about his specific case.
The sports media seems to care little about the Sharper case. No surprise. Because of how terrible it is, it’s VERY easy to say, “Well, *that* guy is bad,” and move on.But as Zirin’s piece at The Nation indicates, Sharper is part of a much larger issue of violence against women and intimate partner violence in the NFL and beyond.
We cannot see this as an isolated incident. We cannot let Sharper be a scapegoat. To prove my point, below is a list of articles about athletes connected to cases of VAW or IPV over the last 18 days, since news of Sharper’s case first broke.
- February 14: “Darren Sharper: Pro Football Player Charged With Drugging, Raping Two Women”
- February 14: “Rape involvee (Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt) wants to prove he’s a ‘nice guy’ at NFL draft”
- February 14: “Jameis Winston’s accuser hires high-profile Title IX attorneys”
- February 14: “Latest details in Michigan rape case (Brendan Gibbons) leave many unanswered questions”
- February 14: “Loic Remy (French soccer star) to face no action over rape claim”
- February 14: “Woman in Vanderbilt rape case becomes party in Tennessean records lawsuit”
- February 14: “Oscar Pistorius Releases Statement on Reeva Steenkamp Death Ahead of March Trial”
- February 16: “Former Bengal/TV personality Artrell Hawkins arrested for domestic violence”
- February 19: “Report: Surveillance video shows Ray Rice dragging fianceé out of elevator”
- February 20: “Michigan’s Taylor Lewan denies intimidating woman in Brendan Gibbons sexual assault case”
- February 23: “Former Notre Dame linebacker discusses sexual assault allegation”
- February 23: “Tulsa basketball player being investigated for rape”
- February 25: “Lawyer: Navy footballer’s sexual-assault case will move forward”
- February 25: “Louisville Commit Arrested After Allegedly Impregnating His Cousin”
- February 26: “Ex-Newcastle soccer, Nile Ranger, star was a ‘CRAZY SEX PEST’ who raped me – woman tells court”
- March 3: “U Of Ottawa Hockey Suspended Amid Gang Sexual Assault Investigation”
Let’s have a much bigger conversation than just about a single athlete or a single league. Clearly it’s needed.