I did not mean for the last chapter of my novel to be so topical.

In it, a player is accused of rape. He is guilty, but because he is very good and knows how to handle the media, he gets off with no consequences.

I wrote it because it’s something I’ve seen in every professional sport. And now, sadly, I see it on my favorite team.

Alfredo Simon has been accused of rape. Though the initial news reports are pretty damning, we need to keep the “accused” there for now. But, I want you to do me a favor and not think that “accused” means “probably innocent.” When it comes to rape, “acquitted” doesn’t even mean that.

First, let’s start with this: the best estimates we have say that 54%+ of all rapes go unreported. Of those that are reported, 14-18% actually go to trial. Of those that do go to trial, the chance of conviction is, at best, 20%.

Numerous studies have found that only 2-8% of rape accusations are false. This is in line with other violent crimes

What that all adds up to is that less than 2% of rapes end in conviction and less than 4% of accusations end in conviction. This despite the fact that the victims almost always tell the truth.

I am giving you these numbers because I know that someone out there will want to blame the victim and call her a liar.

Don’t.

I know that someone out there will want to say that she was asking for it. She was drunk, after all.

Don’t.

No one EVER asks to be assaulted. The fault when a crime like this is committed always lies with the criminal.

Whether you are aware of it or not, you know a lot of women who have been raped. The numbers tell us about 20% of women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape.

I, personally, know a lot of women who have been raped. They include my wife. ALL of the women I know who have been victimized have been blamed for it by someone. NONE of them has seen the man who raped them go to jail.

I am not going to tell you what to think or feel about Alfredo Simon. I can tell you what I think and feel.

A player we have cheered for is accused of a terrible thing. I’m not a news organization, so I don’t have to hedge. He probably did it. The reports I’ve read make it sound like a pretty sure thing.

For the moment, I will not watch or otherwise engage with any game in which Alfredo Simon is scheduled to start. Depending on how the Reds as an organization deal with this, I may well swear off of them altogether. For now, I would personally like to see them place him on some kind of leave.

What I would ask of everyone out there in the Nation is that you do not blame this woman. That you do not deride her. That you do not make excuses for her probable rapist. We will let the justice system do the best it can, but we must also know that, in this instance, it is unlikely to do the job very well.

Third Inning

April 22, 2014

When the Sparrow Sings is truckin’ along. The third inning is out now. Go read it here.

For a number of years now, I’ve been writing essays for Opening Day where I relate baseball to life. I had the most recent one go up at The Hardball Times yesterday. I love writing these, and this one is my favorite, so you should read it. Here it is.