Earlier in the day yesterday, we shared an article about some social controversy that erupted over the appointment of Karl Malone as a judge for this Saturday’s Slam Dunk Contest. The controversy lies in the fact that for a few years now, in light of facts that have resurfaced after many years, Malone has become a controversial figure to say the least.. In fact, at the age of 20 and as a college star, Malone impregnated a girl just 13 years old., following an affair that, by virtue of the child’s age, it is not known how consensual it was. The affair was never fully cleared up, as the family never pressed charges, probably as a result of a lavish payoff from what would later become one of the NBA’s biggest stars. Now a woman, the child in question later claimed that she did not press charges because the player was a “neighborhood kid”. That is, a “neighborhood boy”.
The age of consent in Italy is 14, one of the lowest in the world. Yet even here in our country, Malone’s actions would have been considered illegal. In Louisiana, the state where Malone and the girl lived at the time of the events, the age of consent is as low as 17. Consequently, if the little girl’s family had reported the incident, most likely that college boy would have gone to jail and never become Karl Malone.
Back to us, however, and the article posted on our Facebook page on Wednesday. Under the latter, and we never thought this would happen, we received dozens and dozens of comments defending Malone. We are not afraid to say that some, the crude ones, were hidden and users banned. For sensitive issues such as racism or discrimination in general, we do not in fact tolerate excesses of verbal violence, in words and concepts. If we want, this is an even more serious case because, in fact, we are talking about pedophilia. Not ruled by a judge, many have objected. And this is true, but we must not lose sight of the reality of the facts. That sexual intercourse occurred is not something that needs to be established, since with that 13-year-old girl Malone had a son, Demetrius Bell, who later became an NFL player. It is not something that can be discussed. Therefore, objections such as. “as long as there is no court to judge him, he is not guilty.”. No, Malone objectively committed a crime of which there is evidence (his son) and did not go to trial “just” because the family decided not to report it.
Another recurring theme in the comments is that they are now 40 years have passed since it happened, and that consequently it is pointless or at least inconsistent to make noise now, when Malone has played undisturbed for 20 years in the NBA. And here we open another parenthesis. As written in the opening, the affair is not that well known, even today. There are very few articles on the Internet about it, and almost all of them are more recent than 2020. Imagine how well known this might have been in 1983, when the Internet did not exist and one could barely see a few scattered games on television. Assuming that those were other times and sensitivities on so many issues were different, what could the ordinary American know about a 20-year-old boy who, still in college, had impregnated a girl? Someone in the NBA was certainly aware of the affair, but this is by no means a justification and unfortunately not even news.
Donald Sterling, for one, was at the helm of the Clippers for more than 30 years before viral wiretaps exposed his racist views. To be fair, it is shameful that the Malone issue never got the space it deserved in the American media. Media hypocrisy? Probably so, but it certainly cannot be blamed on the “masses” who today, having learned of the affair several years too late, are outraged at Malone’s involvement in an official NBA event. The same NBA that champions rights, filling its mouth with fundamental issues such as social justice, only to turn a blind eye in at least as many cases.
What these people have asked for, through a medium as direct as often effective as social media, is certainly not that a judge decide to send Malone to prison for a crime committed 40 years ago. Rather, it is simply that the NBA avoid putting its name (again) alongside this person. If we do not agree even on this, that Karl Malone’s behavior in 1983 was not only illegal, but deeply unethical, then there is an underlying problem. A very serious problem, since we are talking about pedophilia. And it is not moralism. It is not acceptable (and we do not accept, as a masthead) that we reduce the clear-cut as well as simple condemnation of pedophilia to “moralism” o “goodism”.
We would like to reiterate that BasketUniverse is neither a judge nor an executioner. But if really on an affair like this the comment that comes to you is this, the problem is certainly not ours. It is yours and yours alone, and you should take a good look in the mirror.