The talk of the sports world this week is the indefinite suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after TMZ released video showing him brutally punching his then-fiancee/now-wife in the face; see the disturbing clip below. Yet when discussing this development, 104.3 The Fan hosts D-Mac and Alfred Williams argued yesterday that the actions of Perrish Cox, a former Bronco, were actually worse -- and they feel the fact that Cox was not even suspended demonstrates the NFL's hypocrisy when it comes to dealing with players accused of criminal behavior.
What did Cox, now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, do to warrant this assertion? He fathered the child of a woman who accused him of raping her. Continue for the disturbing details, including the original arrest affidavit and a lawsuit also naming a current Bronco -- wide receiver Demaryius Thomas -- that has since been settled.
First, the Rice matter. Video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from an elevator was already widely available -- yet he had been given only a two-game suspension for the incident. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell subsequently admitted that the punishment had been too light and instituted new, stronger domestic-violence policies for the league, including a six-game suspension for a first offense -- although he stressed they wouldn't be imposed on Rice retroactively.
But everything changed after TMZ shared footage of Rice inside the elevator punching his fiancee in the face. Here's the clip, which may disturb some (make that "many") readers:
Shortly thereafter, the Ravens cut Rice and NFL administrators suspended him indefinitely while claiming that no one at the league offices had seen the second video -- an assertion that's widely doubted. Meanwhile, Rice's wife -- who refused to testify against him, undermining any possible prosecution -- posted the following on Instagram this morning:
No such public statement of support has been made on behalf of Cox by the woman who accused him of raping her -- because in June 2013, she settled a lawsuit against him and Thomas, with the agreement calling for confidentiality by all parties. But we have the suit, as well as the arrest affidavit against Cox, and they spell out some disturbing allegations.
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Here's how I described the central claims of the lawsuit in a June 2012 post:
"On September 5, 2010, according to the narrative, Doe, Smith and several other women gathered at a friend's home to prepare for an evening of revelry at Club Beta, the locale of a Labor Day weekend event called 'White Party.' They recall having one drink apiece before being driven to the bash, and a small number more over the course of several hours, before connecting with Cox and Thomas and being invited to a private VIP area at the club for 'bottle service.'
"There, the suit claims that they were surprised when presented with lemon-drop shots, which Cox and Thomas urged them to down. Doe, who's said to have been 'deliberately limiting her alcohol consumption because she had a modeling shoot out of state the following work week and wanted to minimize any excess weight or bloating,' nonetheless concurred -- and shortly thereafter, both of them became "incapacitated" despite having glugged too little booze to have left them in that condition, the complaint maintains.
"Doe is said to have been so disoriented after the lemon drop that she walked away from her group and was found 'wandering the streets of lower downtown Denver' by Cox and Thomas. As for Smith, who also caught a ride with the players, she reportedly has no memory of anything between being at the club and vomiting in Cox's bathroom. The suit claims these symptoms are consistent with the consumption of 'date rape drugs' such as GHB, 'a drug of choice and easily obtained by NFL athletes,' the suit allows.
"Back at Cox's place, Doe remembers kissing and being genitally fondled by Thomas on an air mattress he used as a crash pad before passing out. Thomas confirmed that she lost consciousness during "sexual contact" during a conversation with police, the suit argues. But on the stand at Cox's trial, he changed his tune to assert that he had stopped his actions because he was a gentleman and the air mattress and circumstances weren't sufficiently romantic.
"An unconscious Doe was allegedly transferred from the air mattress to Cox's bedroom, with Thomas testifying that he'd told Cox she was 'ready' -- for intercourse with the latter, presumably. Due to this statement and Doe's condition, among other things, the suit states that Thomas should be held partly responsible for what happened next. 'In the early morning hours of September 6, 2010," the document says, "one or more men ejaculated into the vagina of Doe, who was physically incapacitated and unconscious.'"
Damning stuff -- yet while the Broncos, unlike the Ravens in the Ray Rice case, promptly cut Cox after his arrest, a jury ultimately found him not guilty of the charges against him. Why?
Continue for more about the Perrish Cox case, including two the arrest affidavit and lawsuit. After Cox was acquitted in March 2012, our Kyle Garratt noted that he tweeted the following: "Harvey stienberg is the greatest lawyer on earth, hands down, there is no other better as i recall, all else is obselete!!"
No question that Steinberg, the lawyer of choice whenever a Bronco gets into trouble with the law, played a huge role in helping Cox skate. But Garratt also credits testimony from Thomas, as well as doubt. Here's an excerpt from his post interpreting the verdict:
Thomas testified that in practice after that night, defensive back Cassius Vaughn, who was Cox's roommate at the time of the incident, told Thomas that when he left early that morning, he missed some "girl on girl action" between the alleged victim and Che [that's Cathy Che, who Cox had been dating].
At a preliminary trial, a judge had ruled that this detail was inadmissible in trial under rape-shield laws, because a jury is not supposed to consider a rape victim's sexual history. But the Denver Post's Mike Klis reports that Thomas brought it up because a prosecuting attorney asked him why he had repeatedly texted the alleged victim the day after the incident. Thomas said it was because of what Vaughn had told him.
The accuser and Che's alleged sexual interaction, once barred from the trial, now helped Steinberg imply more happened that night than the alleged victim reported or was aware of. The alleged victim didn't help her case by reportedly deleting several text messages from Thomas discussing the alleged "girl on girl action."
Reasonable doubt that Cox did not rape the woman was all he needed to go free, and it seems Steinberg built a mountain of it out of this detail. He was then able to portray the alleged victim as a functional drinker capable of interacting with others while intoxicated without remembering it. The alleged victim also testified that she wouldn't have considered it rape if she had learned the following day she had sex with Thomas. She was willing to unknowingly have sex with him, but not Cox.
Thomas testified that the alleged victim may not have passed out, but simply fell asleep. She was also unable to be tested for date-rape drugs she believes she was given because she waited too long to visit a doctor and was never given a date-rape kit.
The prosecution's entire case hinged on the science, which was enough to show that Cox lied about having sex with the alleged victim, and possibly to convict him in the public eye. But as Steinberg said, Cox was not on trial for lying.
Steinberg wasn't trying to prove Cox is a good person or even that he didn't have sex with a woman who was not her normal self. He was simply creating reasonable doubt that Cox sexually assaulted a woman incapable of appraising her own condition.
Cox was never punished by the NFL for his actions, as Williams and D-Mac pointed out, and he remains gainfully employed by the league, which apparently only acts in cases like these when video of the incidents go public.
Here's Cox's arrest affidavit, followed by the lawsuit.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.