Don’t get me wrong, the #MeToo movement has been a great thing for much of American culture. It’s given women who felt ashamed over sexual misconduct by men a voice and inspiration to come out and tell their story, whether it was 20 months ago or 20 years ago, it doesn’t matter. It has been a positive for society, which for most of our modern-day existence had given men the benefit of the doubt in these situations. Those days are over.
But unfortunately, we’ve swung so far in the other direction that now, any accuser is believed, while anyone accused is automatically guilty in the eyes of the public. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I’m afraid we are beginning to swing the pendulum too far in the other direction.
When the Rodney Anderson news first broke, the story didn’t entirely make sense, at least to those of us who knew the details that were out there. Why three weeks after the fact? Why a couple days after OU won the Big 12 title? Why Rodney Anderson? There was nothing in his past to suggest this kind of behavior. In fact, everyone I had ever spoken with regarding Anderson glowed about him as a person. Immediately, he had teammates coming to his defense on social media, which was highly unusual, if there was even a slight thought to Anderson being guilty.
But that didn’t stop the public outcry. As someone who works in media in New York City at CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated, SiriusXM, and other outlets, I was peppered with questions about Anderson. People I work with know my ties and coverage of the Big 12 Conference and I couldn’t avoid the questions. “How could OU let another abuser on campus after Joe Mixon?” “Once again, Bob Stoops put winning above character.” “Will Oklahoma suspend him for the Rose Bowl?”
While I was skeptical of the allegations, it’s not popular in 2017 to defend someone accused of rape. Facts be damned. So I would typically stumble through a couple of sentences and say something along the lines of, “Yea, it’s definitely not good. I guess we will have to see what happens exactly.”
That was as far as I could go to defend Anderson, even though I wasn’t buying the accusations at the time.
Unfortunately, an allegation is now a guilty verdict in the public eye. That’s where we’ve gone too far in the other direction.
The news of Anderson’s rape accusation shocked the college football world, but notice the fact that charges were never filed, the accuser dropped her victim protection order, and then the latest report that she was allegedly doing this for a future political career did not gain nearly the attention that the initial accusation did.
NO one in my media circles have asked me about the story since the actual FACTS have come out and the story has unfolded as it did. No one littered me with questions about Cleveland County district attorney Greg Mashburn saying, “Definitely charges are not warranted under these circumstances.” No one asked me about Anderson passing a three-hour long polygraph test.
One friend told police Thornton had said “this would be a ‘great thing’ for her political career following the Air Force,” The Oklahoman has learned. The friend told police Thornton had said “female-empowered political organizations would love something like this.”
That’s sick. Frankly, it’s just as sick as someone committing an act of sexual misconduct. Both people are trying to ruin someone else’s life.
If I’m the Air Force, where Thornton is expected to begin serving as a second lieutenant, I’d tell her, “thanks, but no thanks.” I don’t want someone with such a poor character serving in my unit. Secondly, she should not even be allowed to serve, because charges should be filed against Courtney Thornton.
Imagine if Anderson didn’t still hold text messages from Thornton after their incident on November 15th, where she was very friendly with the running back? What if there weren’t people willing to speak up to authorities that Thornton was really as full of shit as many expected from the beginning? If it became a he said-she said, she might have won. And that’s a shame in itself.
Like I’ve stated, the #MeToo movement has been overwhelming positive for hundreds, if not thousands, of women and has taken down many men who got by for far too long with illegal and inappropriate behavior. But to make sure we are counteracting that, there needs to be legal consequences for the Courtney Thornton’s of the world. Not only have they attempted to ruin the lives of others for their personal gain, they’ve wasted taxpayers’ money and time while the local authorities investigate a crime that was determined to have not occurred.
Thornton said Friday she lost faith in the justice system following the lack of charges against Anderson. She said she was unable to consent to what happened because of her level of intoxication.
Unfortunately for Thornton, she’s the last person who should have lost faith in the justice system. She should be thankful the situation didn’t, or hasn’t yet, gotten any worse, legally … for her.