Thursday, Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress published extensive details on the case accusing Derrick Rose and two friends of raping a woman in 2013 (further expounded in this Twitter thread). The facts of the case, which goes to trial October 4, are distressing. By "facts," I refer to the legal proceedings and media coverage, not the accusations, though I will add that when a woman accuses someone of rape, I take her at her word. That's because of how I was raised, people I've met, things I've read, and statistics. In court, people are innocent until proven guilty. In real life, and particularly in rape cases, proof of guilt is complex, and affected by money, power, and privilege.
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NBA basketball feels like fiction. The Knicks are a TV show we watch 3 or 4 nights a week from Fall to Spring every year. The players are actors, and their performance does not -- or at least need not -- have any bearing on real life.
As a fan, and as the founder of this fan blog, I care far more about the actors' performances than I do about who they are off camera. Those lines are blurry, though, and I'll readily admit that we at P&T are happier to cross them when it's fun and convenient. When Carmelo Anthony speaks admirably about police violence, or when he's documented shopping at his bodega in a bathrobe, I want to attend to that. When Derek Fisher gets into an altercation with Matt Barnes because of a relationship with Barnes's ex-wife, I wish desperately to avoid thinking about it. That's a matter of instinct for me, and a basic conundrum of being a fan.
For one fan, management of that conundrum is private, and fluid in that it doesn't quite have to be solved. I can't quite explain how I went about rooting for domestic abuser Kurt Thomas -- to give one example -- but I did. I knew that he did something horrid. I wanted him to make his shots and help the Knicks win. I never had to make explicit any resolution of those two truths. They just kind of sat there in my head together while I watched basketball. I was 13. I didn't have a blog.
Posting and Toasting is not me. It's not one person. We're out here. We're also not a journalistic enterprise. P&T is a blog and a public fan forum interested in the news. It is outside our expertise to opine on a rape case, or to analyze its details. We also must not ignore it, not only because it could have bearing on Rose's availability and the performance of the Knicks, but because the player we'll be rooting for this season is a person, and eager as we are to preserve our beloved fiction, there are points at which that becomes dishonest. It would be wrong.
We will cover Derrick Rose's performance on the court this season. We also understand that our world is not the real one, and we will cover the reporting on Rose's rape trial as is appropriate. We will endeavor to not let the former color the latter. The latter -- at least for me -- may color the former. It colors the way I view the organization that went out of its way to acquire him.
Insofar as I want the Knicks to win, I will root for Derrick Rose to succeed. How you root is up to you. All I ask is that when you're here commenting and Fanposting, you consider your fellow commenter, whose experience of rooting may differ from yours, whose reckoning of Knicks World and real life may differ from yours, and whose life experiences definitely differ from yours. P&T will be following reports of the trial, but not picking the trial apart, and in turn, I pray for comment sections that don't devolve into armchair lawyering.
Remember that you have the option to anonymously flag objectionable comments, and that you can always get in touch with me directly with questions or concerns.
Let's keep this place enjoyable and comfortable for each other, and let's have as much fun as we can watching basketball.