GLENN: If you googled the name Rodney Anderson before yesterday, you might think the star running back from Oklahoma University was a rapist. Anderson’s accuser claimed he had raped her on November 16th, and - after a few weeks - a friend of hers convinced her to come forward. The story alleged that on the evening of November 16th, Anderson and the accuser had met up at a bar. Later that night she decided to go home with him. It was then that she claimed he raped and bit her.
Anderson categorically denied the allegation, but the media exposure continued to pile on. The story seemed yet another domino in this post Weinstein era. Hollywood, corporations and Washington had already fallen. It seemed only too obvious that the sporting world was next. That’s the mentality we have lately. With forty plus accusations of sexual misconduct in under two months, everyone waits with bated breath to find out which industry will be the next to fall.
Up until this point - over the past couple of months - most companies have responded to similar accusations with an immediate suspension or termination. In this new age of instant information and social media, accusation is equivalent to guilt. One sports analyst summed this up perfectly when he called for Anderson’s suspension on an Oklahoma City talk radio station. He said:
“[It’s] Business, right? We’re talking about a billion-dollar athletic
department. It’s not the best thing for Rodney Anderson. I understand that. But it’s the best thing for the brand.”
This kind of thinking is exactly what’s enabling and fueling this witch hunt mentality. ‘We can’t have bad press!! Label him a rapist and let’s be done with it!!’
Anderson’s story was already trending all over the country. The tag lines included the words “Anderson”, “star running back” and “rape.” Can you imagine what would have happened if the University of Oklahoma prematurely suspended him for rape? He would have been finished, but we’ve seen it handled that way literally DOZENS of times over the past two months.
The DA’s office announced yesterday that no charges would be filed. Text messages were found showing that the accuser was lying. Witness interviews reported that the accuser thought Anderson was a quote “nice guy” for not going all the way with her that night. It was only after Anderson stopped responding to her advances that she decided to accuse him of rape.
This story is a perfect example of a couple things. First, never pre-determine someone’s fate based off of an accusation. The accuser should be treated seriously and fairly, but so should the accused. Second, this rush to save face and protect the brand is creating a lynch mob mentality that has got to stop. The University of Oklahoma handled this the right way. Maybe the rest of the country can follow that example.