Culture of Hoops

Derrick Rose on Trial: Will the Results Determine the Fate of Phil Jackson?

Screen capture courtesy of the NBA/YouTube.

Screen capture courtesy of the NBA/YouTube.

Derrick Rose wasted no time joining the problematic guard tradition of the New York Knicks. Joining names like Stephon Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, and Raymond Felton, Rose is making headlines for his off the court buffoonery. The previous guys all had their off the court nonsense, but none were as severe as Rose’s current rape trial. (Felton is a close second for allegedly pulling a gun on his wife.) The trial indicting the newly christened Knick is set to begin October 4, the same day the preseason tips off.

Lost in all the hype of Rose’s redemption tour is the question of whether or not someone like him even deserves redemption. Jason Concepcion of The Ringer wrote an important piece detailing how a Knicks fan must not separate D. Rose from Derrick Rose. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with what exactly Rose is being accused of let me try and catch you up to speed with the basics. Please refer to Lindsay Gibbs’s ThinkProgress piece on the case for a detailed account and the court documents can also be found online.

  1. Jane Doe [real name being withheld for obvious reasons] accuses Rose and his friends—Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton—of gang rape was previously in a relationship with Rose that spanned two years.
  2. She stated that Rose has approached the subject of group sex before and each time she has refused.
  3. On August 26, 2013 Doe and her friend Jessica Groff went to Rose’s Beverly Hills house to hang out with him, Allen and Hampton.
  4. Rose and his friends tried to engage in group sex, but Groff refused and Doe was extremely inebriated. The two ladies took a cab home.
  5. Doe texted Rose later that night to come over and sent her the address. Rose headed over—with Hampton and Allen.
  6. After trying to get a hold of Doe—she had drunkenly passed out as extremely drunk people tend to do—the three men find an open door into the building and break into her apartment.
  7. They see Doe passed out on her bed, but still continue to have sex with her.
  8. Doe woke up the next morning feeling ill. She texted and called Rose the following week, but Rose had distanced himself. She reaches out to Allen and lets him know she was not in right state of mind to have sex.
  9. On August 26, 2015 Doe filed a civil suit case against Rose, Allen, and Hampton.
  10. Rose’s defense thus far has been that Doe is sexually active within the NBA player community even name dropping Nick Young.

A lot to take in right? Well that’s not even a quarter of the story. This has serious potential to get ugly especially with the New York media snooping around. And not just for Rose, but also for Knicks’ president, Phil Jackson, who was aware of the civil suit when he traded for him in June. Jackson dealt with a similar situation revolving around Kobe Bryant in 2003, and never felt “compelled” to investigate Rose’s impending case. If you’re keeping score at home, Jackson not only traded for a possibly washed up player, but a washed up player who might be charged with rape.

Look, however you feel about Rose is up to you. I’ll let the trial play out before judging him fully. The early details are ugly and Rose’s defense— “we men, you can assume”—has not made him sympathetic in the least. Why are his loser friends so intent on smashing his girl with him? Why was Rose so intent on having sex with a girl with his loser friends? Hopefully those questions are answered as the trial plays out.

So how should Knicks fans feel about all this? They should be annoyed. Since Jackson has taken over he has made a few—emphasis on ‘few’—good moves, but has also made a ton of the same of stupid moves that made the Knicks a laughingstock the past 15 years. This is a make or break year for the Phil Jackson era, an era that was supposed to restore the feeling of the glory days.

This season should be all about basketball. Kristaps Porzingis is coming off a phenomenal rookie season. Carmelo Anthony is coming off an Olympic Gold run in Rio and playing with his best supporting cast since coming to NY. Joakim Noah and Rose are looking to prove the Chicago Bulls they are not washed up. Phil Jackson is looking to prove he can run a successful basketball team.

Rose’s case can derail all of that. Depending how messy this gets it can become the main story about the Knicks, win or lose. If Rose does what Kobe was able to do and ball out every night while proving his innocence, then Jackson’s seat becomes a lot cooler. If Rose stinks, or worse gets injured AND is found guilty of rape. Well, then we’re right back to square one folks.

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