I Don't Want to Say "I told you so, but I think I did"
At Nestor's request, I'm putting up an expanded version of a comment I posted under Rye's Fanpost announcing that ND was not going to face charges.
I'm going to expand a bit on what I posted to incorporate a comment he made and my response to him.
Here's my original comment:
"No offense intended to the many who wanted immediate sanctions or a suspension, but "innocent until proven guilty" is a constitutional right based upon very solid values. Yes, I know that the Constitution would not prohibit a school or team from imposing an administrative sanction, but doing so might have resulted in an injustice.
As I wrote when this news came up, I trusted CBH to handle this correctly — and he did.
We’ve now had two similar moments, one with MJD and one with ND where at the end of the investigation no charges were filed.
I think these are very good examples of why it’s wise to cool one’s jets when someone is arrested or linked to a potential violation.
In both cases, the criminal justice system seemed to work correctly.
I think the reason some people want to throw the book at our own guys, immediately, is because the system doesn’t seem to work across town.
I don’t think it proper to inappropriately punish our guys so that we can hold the moral high ground when complaining that their guys never get punished.
We own the moral high ground, already, and inappropriately punishing people diminishes rather than enhances our stature.
And, yes, I agree whole heartedly that our players should never get into these situations in the first place. But, we really don’t know what ND’s situation was other than that he was breaking up with a girl friend, which happens, and he went to get his stuff. One story was that he inadvertently opened the door into her. Hardly a criminal or chargeable act.
When you have coaches you trust you can put these matters in their hands. I trust CBH. Again, he did and said all the right things."
Nestor then replied:
Although I disagree with you here somewhat (because I come from the school of thought that CBH did the right thing in punshing ND right away and perhaps sit him out for another game or two) I think you should put this comment up in the Fan Post section. It is very thought provoking and I think its important other folks don’t miss it. Thanks!"
To which I replied (modified and expanded quite a bit):
I think having ND sit out a game probably was more a matter of CBH getting ND to focus than of punishing him.
I posted because when MJD happened, and then ND occurred, there were people speculating about what happened, creating hypothetical scenarios, and then calling for punishment for those hypothetical scenarios.
The hypotheticals took on a life of their own, and some began to talk as though ND had actually beaten up his ex-girlfriend. Take a look back at those threads the "charges" and calls for punishment were really pretty wild. And, probably very hurtful to ND and his reputation.
We saw the same thing happen with MJD. Before the incident, he was loved and respected, here. After, to some he became a monster. A while later, he was completely cleared; he had not been a part of the shameful beating.
One of the reasons we have the presumption of innocence is that our Founders recognized that the stigma that attaches to a conviction is significant. They wanted to make sure that no one suffered the stigma only to be cleared later -- because they new that the stink was really hard to wash off.
They created the protection hundreds of years ago and probably never envisioned the Internet and it's ability to spread the stink, quickly around the world. There's no guarantee that it will be removed, when someone is cleared completely or quickly.
Need proof? Rye's post went up a day ago. Nestor responded. No one else responded until I did, this afternoon.
Whereas the original ND post started a wild fire discussion, the fact that he was exonerated drew little attention or comment.
We take such great pleasure and pride in MJD, as we should. Some fail to remember the beating he took here, when the press made it seem he was involved in the crime.
I'm sure, in the years to come, one of our players, in some sport, will be arrested.
And I know the arrest will stimulate a vigorous call for immediate punishment and sanctions -- a heated discussion of the "facts" although we won't know the facts, and a few voices of restraint.
I'm the last person in the world to want to censor anyone -- but I do want people to realize that assumptions are not facts and that these discussions can hurt our players who follow BN and those around the world who read about them here.