Woman’s false accusation against Auburn player led to him being put off the team
by Dr Boyce Watkins
A recent case at Auburn University is the kind that would leave any normal person disturbed and deeply afraid of the political environment in which we live. According to AL.com, a woman accused Auburn University running back Jovon Robinson of a physical assault, which led to him being dismissed from the team. According to the woman’s claim, Robinson smashed her head into a door, causing her face, shoulder and knees to be seriously injured.
The problem is that this was all a lie. In an email to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, the woman admitted that she made the whole thing up because she was angry that Robinson had put her out of his room. For some odd reason, AL.com is protecting the identity of the accuser, but I hardly expect that Robinson’s identity was ever protected. What’s even more interesting is that he is the actual victim.
“I was upset with him because he didn’t want me in his room,” the accuser told AL.com. “We were just arguing.”
But the original email that the woman sent to the football coach sounded pretty convincing.
“After about (five) minutes, without being provoked in any way, he frantically gets up and shoves me out the door, not giving me a chance to gather my things before doing so (phone and keys),” the accuser said to Malzahn. “In the process to physically throw me out, Jovon managed to smash my head in the door and skin both of my knees on the hallway carpet. I now have two bloody knees, a bruised shoulder, and a knot above my eye.”
Robinson’s version of events (which now have far more credibility than the false accuser) is very different. He says that he wanted the woman out of his room and grabbed her by the hand and sent her away. Perhaps next time, they might give as much weight to the words of the black male as they do the other “sweet, innocent” woman he allegedly attacked. There’s this little thing called “evidence” that people seem to forget about when getting excited about finding ways to ruin a young man’s life.
I also honestly wonder if this woman was white. I know that Jovon is black (his face was plastered all over the media the minute the false accusation was made). However, the false accuser’s identity is still being protected. That makes as much sense as watching someone get run over by a car and then checking on the person behind the wheel.
“I didn’t lead or grab her,” Robinson told AL.com. “I followed to make sure my door was locked.”
Wait, there’s more to this interesting story.
According to AL.com, the woman who falsely accused Robinson said that university officials in the Title IX office asked her to send pictures to show evidence of her bruises, but she had none. So, apparently, there was no physical evidence to lead them to even punish this young man in the first place.
What’s even more interesting is that according to the false accuser, Title IX Coordinator Kelley Taylor wanted to make the incident into something substantial when there was no evidence supporting the claims. The woman says that despite the fact that she informed Taylor that the incident was entirely made up, Taylor repeatedly called her to force the issue.
“Me knowing that it wasn’t true, I never did. They never saw any physical bruises on me” and the university “never had any hard evidence,” the woman said.
“(Taylor) really wanted to make it a big deal, after I told her basically that I lied,” the accuser said to AL.com. “I can see her calling me one time after I said it, but two times and then a week later? That kind of made me wonder, why was she trying to do that?”
According to AL.com, Taylor didn’t try to speak with the coach or any university officials after her initial email from the coach asking her to look into the matter. So basically, the university made the move to effectively end this young man’s football career based on one email with one accusation, with no follow-up, no proof, no interviews with witnesses, no due process and no substantive evaluation of the situation whatsoever….OTHER than a phone call to the alleged victim who immediately told them that it was all a lie.
Dear Black Man: This is the justice system you are facing on many university campuses. Actually, there is no justice. You’re presumed guilty the minute you walk onto that campus. You must be extremely careful, especially when dealing with white women (I don’t know if this woman is white, but studies show that race does make a difference in these cases).
The university appears to be defending it’s decision to release Robinson by stating, “Jovon Robinson was dismissed for a number of incidents that occurred over the course of his time as a member of the Auburn football team. As a matter of practice and policy, we won’t discuss the specifics of those incidents.”
Right after Robinson was released from the team, the accuser sent the coach an email asking for him to reconsider his decision to destroy the young man’s football career. Here’s some of what she said:
“I’m not sure if your decision today had anything to do with my situation a few weeks ago, but I just wanted you to know that I made up the entire thing simply because I was upset with Jovon at the time,” the accuser wrote in the email to Malzahn. “I haven’t had any contact with him in the past few weeks but I do not think my lie should have costed him his spot on the team. Please consider changing your mind because I would really hate to see a person with so much potential lose his opportunity because of my silly fib. Jovon didn’t do anything to me that night but ask me to leave his room and I was upset about that.”
I’ve been teaching on college campuses for over 20 years, and I have a few thoughts on this issue. I wrote about some of them just a few days ago on this blog in my warnings to young black men going to college:
- This young man’s family should sue the hell out of Auburn University for ruining his football career. The stain of being a man who beats women and was removed from the team for violent behavior has pretty much killed thousands of hours of hard work, investment and sacrifice he has made to become a great football player and NFL prospect. Former NFL star Ray Rice is living proof that a black football player is virtually incapable of overcoming an allegation of domestic violence. In Rice’s case, even his own wife has asked people to stop punishing him, but no one is listening.
- While the coach may want us to believe that this incident was just one of many, the fact remains that the woman’s false email was the catalyst that led to Robinson’s dismissal. Were it not, he would have released Jovon before this incident took place. My speculation is that the university is now trying to cover it’s own butt.
- This incident shows the horrible political tornado that has been created when a pack of overzealous extreme hyper-feminist tyrants decided that every accuser should be instantly believed, even if there is no evidence to support the claim. At that point, nearly all rights of the accused are either minimized or eliminated, and the accuser is protected as if they could not possibly do any wrong. The obvious flaw with this line of thinking is that in more than a few of these cases, the alleged victim is actually the predator. There is a long history of black men being sent to prison for things they did not do. But then again, that’s evidence and information, two things that some people don’t consider to be relevant when they are seeking to railroad someone into oblivion.
- When someone’s life, reputation or livelihood are on the line, there ABSOLUTELY MUST be due process. As much as we all want to stop domestic violence and other forms of assault, the fact is that you can’t go around ruining people’s lives because of what somebody said about them. It’s wrong, it’s evil, it’s ignorant and in this case, it’s probably racist. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to have to mull over every detail. Yes, some people might be embarrassed. But the fact remains that it is essential to ensure that there is adequate evidence or at least a strong preliminary investigation before ANY decisive action is taken. Removing a college football player from even 4 or 5 games based on one person’s words can substantially derail his entire career.
- The first goal of any assault investigation should be to determine who is actually the victim. Therefore, until additional facts and information are gathered, BOTH PARTIES should have their identities protected. This way, if it turns out that the accuser is actually the predator, you can protect the real victim and expose the person seeking to do harm. In other words, let’s stop believing that the big black man automatically did it.
- False accusers should get the same prison time that would have been given to the person they are accusing. Yes, punishing the liars might keep them from coming forward. But it also has the effect of ensuring that anyone who decides to ruin someone else’s life has evidence to prove their point. Even in cases of sexual assault, while there is a great deal of well-deserved sympathy for the victim, the truth is that predators who lie about sexual assault often send falsely-accused men off to be raped in prison not just once or twice, but hundreds of times over a long prison sentence that they did not deserve. Many of these men come home traumatized, mentally ill, with HIV that may be spread to black women. So, as much as you might want to shed tears for the person who says that they were unfairly brutalized, there is a much longer trail of tears to be had after spending 20 years in prison for something you did not do.
- Yes, the false accuser in this case was noble in rectifying her initial mistake. This should be considered in choosing her punishment. But the fact that she has admitted to lying about something that ruined this man’s career and could have had him sent to prison deserves more than just an “I’m sorry” at the end of the conversation.
- I am not sure if alcohol was involved in this incident, but it is almost always involved in other incidents that occur on college campuses. Despite my numerous pleas to get Syracuse University (my former employer) to do more to stop campus binge drinking, the truth is that getting drunk on the weekend was a bigger tradition than wearing the color orange. The problem, for the rest of us, is that it’s hard to determine exactly who to believe when both people were so drunk that they barely remember what happened. Listening to two drunk people who made bad decisions explain why one person was worse than the other ends up making all of us irritated and confused, and leaves those involved in the incident looking ridiculous.
- If you are black, please warn your sons. The fact of the matter is that there are thousands of incidents of black men losing everything because of one false allegation. No one believes black men when they plead their case, and in most situations, you are guilty the minute the accusation is made, unable to EVER be proven innocent (see the acquittal of “Birth of a Nation” director Nate Parker). This means that a) black men should never get into physical altercations with women unless it is to defend your life, b) avoid sleeping with women you don’t know extremely well and c) be careful when dealing with white girls who might become embarrassed when their high-powered fathers find out that they have an insatiable appetite for giant men with brown skin. Everyone is still going to see even the most scandalous white woman as daddy’s little girl, and you’ll always be seen as the big, black brute who harmed an angel.
As this case shows, things are not always what they seem. It’s time to start handling these situations with a little bit more common sense.
Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and founder of the group, “Black Men United,” an advocacy group for Black men around the world. He is also the author of “The 8 principles of black male empowerment” and the program, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College.” To learn more, please visit BoyceWatkins.com.
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