Bryant story- Our cynicism is clear, but the truth isn't

Sunday, July 27, 2003

We don't know anything.

We don't know Kobe Bryant, no matter how many commercials or interviews we see.

We don't know whether his accuser is a victim or a gold-digger, no matter how many unseemly stories like this one creep into this section of the playground.

And we don't know whether the police are just doing their job responsibly or chasing overzealously after one of the most famous names in sports.

All the parties involved here -- athletes, accusers, police -- have betrayed us too often for us to be naive, though.

So about the only thing we see clearly today is our own cynicism.

If:It's such a big, little word.

If Bryant is innocent, it's awful to be him today. Defenseless against an accusation that might be a lie but damages his reputation nonetheless. All his life's good work suddenly doubted because of the claim of an unknown person with unknown motives.

If his accuser is indeed a victim, she still gets smeared by those who buy Bryant's corporate-polished image as the truth. She gets "she asked for it" and "she's after his money," even if she didn't, even if she isn't. She illustrates the reason so many women who have been raped don't come forward to be humiliated yet again.

There is no scoreboard here to tidy things up. There are only losers. We live in the celebrity age of guilty until proven innocent.

It seems a lot easier to tear the pedestal down than rebuild it.

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