September 24, 2010

Rah Deal: A former Silsbee, Texas, high school cheerleader did not have a First Amendment right to refuse to cheer for a basketball player she claimed had sexually assaulted her, a federal appeals court panel has ruled. More.

posted by rumple to culture at 11:47 PM - 9 comments

A). What a horrible deal for the girl. Hope she gets the help she needs to get through one of the most traumatic events someone can have happen to them. B). From reading the brief in the first link, kind of agree with the ruling, but worry about some effects. As a cheerleader, she is essentially a mouthpiece for the school, and I don't see a consitutional right in replacing the message you are assigned for your own. (Then again, I am in the Navy, so I am used to being a shill with no voice of my own, so your mileage may vary). C). But I think in codifying them as mouthpieces, we're taking a huge step towards making high-school student athletes into the robotic automatons that populate the NFL, and can only recite pre-briefed answers (because they will be spokesmen, after all). That would work out well. D). In no way shape or form should I be confused with a lawyer.

posted by Bonkers at 02:03 AM on September 25, 2010

Two different stories here:

The first one is where the author implies- with no real proof- that she was raped. RAPE! Maybe.

The second one is where the courts decided that she had her personal space invaded in an inappropriate way. That sounds kind of rapey, but in the eyes of the courts, its SIMPLE ASSAULT! Or something.

There's some terrible middle ground where rape and just being awful to a young girl come together, and that's where we are now. Something bad happened to this girl, and she still wanted to cheer for all of the guys except for Chad Rapesalot. She's a moron, but didn't deserve whatever did or did not happen to her.

If you can tell me why high-school cheerleading should still be a thing, I'll buy you a beer.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:43 AM on September 25, 2010

Samsonov14, that's how plea deals work. The vast majority of criminal cases get settled that way. They guy pleaded guilty to a lesser crime to avoid a trial.

I can predict how just about every first amendment/high school case ends. School wins, student loses. So, this isn't a surprising result. What I find most disturbing about this case (and far too many others) is how little decency is involved in school's interactions with their students.

posted by bperk at 06:26 AM on September 25, 2010

A grand jury thought enough of the evidence to indict him for felony sex assault on a child. Why is this girl a moron? Should she have quit cheerleading because she was the victim of an assault?

Like Bperk, I'm amazed at the actions of the school officials. Was Sue Sylvester leading the team? Letting her sit out on cheers for the athletes in question was hardly an onerous request.

posted by rcade at 11:01 AM on September 25, 2010

It does seem to be a perverse result when players not only accused of a crime, but convicted of one (lesser or not) are allowed to continue representing their school when a young woman is denied that right for refusing to cheer for those criminals. It's not that she was screaming pejoratives about them rather than cheering; it sounds like she just put her pom poms down when she was supposed to cheer for the individuals. Compound that fact with the fact that she was the victim of those criminal actions, and you have a serious priority inversion on the part of that school. What the fuck are they telling their student body?

posted by tahoemoj at 12:22 PM on September 25, 2010

Keeping in mind that at the time of the basketball game at which the girl refused to cheer, the player had not been indicted, so the school really wasn't in the position of having to defend why the player was allowed to continue to represent their least not yet. Yeah, they might have known he was a jerk that should have been kicked off the team, but no criminal record existed at the time.

Regardless, I am surprised that the cheerleading coach couldn't work out a deal to let the girl not cheer for that player. Feign an ankle injury, fake an untied shoe, or perhaps just softly say something other than what the other girls are saying. One cheerleader missing on a cheer wouldn't throw the world into any sort of cataclysmic spiral. In fact, not having any cheerleaders wouldn't cause that.

Side note, the cheerleaders, and their coach, of my son't football team have to be the most ignorant group of cheerleaders in existence. They continually strive to get the fans to cheer the loudest at the very points in the game at which we should be the quietest. When our team is facing 4th and one, is not the time for us to make it impossible for the players to hear the QB.

posted by dviking at 01:40 PM on September 25, 2010

I'm going to sound like a jerk here, but I can guarantee that everyone in this scenario dederves jail time.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:33 PM on September 25, 2010

Huh? Yes, yes you are going to sound like a jerk here unless you can explain why the cheerleader should go to jail.

posted by rumple at 02:46 PM on September 25, 2010

I can't apologize enough for my last comment. Just terrible, with no explanation. I wrote that when I was drunk, which is frequently when good stuff comes out of my mouth. Once in a blue moon I puke, which is bad stuff coming out of my mouth. That was me puking. Sorry.

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:41 AM on October 16, 2010

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