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Thursday, January 30, 2014


It was great to see the Gibbons situation finally exposed. Now we know what happened four years ago,  before it was all swept under the carpet.

I remember the original report on MLive, perhaps the only media outlet to cover it. The first news was that "a football player" was charged with rape, and there were no follow-up stories for more than a month. Finally there was a report saying the charges had been dropped.

Most people do not remember when the incident happened in 2009. Many are just hearing about it for the first time. For those new to the story, many of the key details may be elusive to comprehend at first, as it may be a bit of a shock to hear it all in retrospect.

It appears the main defense ("excuse") people have for Gibbons is to emphasize that he has not formally been found "guilty" in a court of law. This fact is one of many fundamental aspects of the case. But the story as a whole is based on actions, not an inaction, and the key act was taken by the University of Michigan itself by expelling the alleged perpetrator. In the quasi-legal arena of public institutions, he was determined to have been "guilty" according to "the preponderance of evidence".

While the institution is not a court of law, neither are the available penalties identical. If found "guilty" in a criminal court of law, Gibbons could have been given a maximum sentence of prison time. As he was found "guilty" through the institutional disciplinary review process, he was given the maximum sentence of expulsion. Both are correct uses of the term "guilty", though used in the two different contexts.

Without question, in this case, Brendan Gibbons is GUILTY. And that's why I bring Orenthal James into it.

Most people would say they thought O.J. Simpson committed murder. But he was not convicted of it in a criminal court of law. So does that literally mean that O.J. was "not guilty"? If so, what about the successful civil actions against him later on? Was he not found "guilty" in those courts? You could say Simpson was "guilty" or "not guilty" in different contexts and be right or wrong.

Surely there are acts of brutality that occur during wartime situations that don't result in formal charges, but does the lack of formal processing mean the actions didn't happen? What about the time before people had courts, does that mean those types of actions never occurred back then since there were no charges to be filed? Women's equity advocates have long been vocal about how many of these actions do not result in formal convictions, even though they actually happened.

None of this is germaine to the story. It seems clear from the widespread media reports that Michigan Football Coach Brady Hoke knew that Gibbons had been "convicted" (internally) yet played him in the next game anyway. We now know that the comments Hoke made about a "muscle problem" and "family matters" were smokescreens at best, perhaps even a deliberate cover-up through open lying to the public.

Plus, if Hoke knew (as he must have known) then so did David Brandon. That ties them both together in the scheme, as Brandon had to be aware of the situation, even if only by hearing Hoke speak publicly on the subject of Gibbons. And presumably he did nothing about it. That makes one of them the "accessory" to the other.

There's your story. No point in debating the use of the word "guilty", as some folks won't get the idea that some words have a range of meanings. The key to this revelation is the complicit role-playing by Hoke and Brandon to protect the eligibility of Gibbons and Taylor Lewan.

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  1. I respectfully submit that the term "not guilty" is less valid than the term "innocent." Not guilty is used when the court can not find the accused guilty due to lack of evidence or legal technicalities. Not guilty literally means not proven guilty.

    Innocent means the accused actually did not commit the alleged crime. In such cases, the accused is exonerated and charges dropped (due to proven innocence).

    1. Follow-up:

      O.J. Simpson was literally "not guilty" as not proven guilty by the court. In that case, innocence was not proven and most are convinced he was guilty. The subsequent civil cases add to support to that belief.

      Charges dropped without exoneration is the same as not proven guilty. It just happens earlier in the legal process and occurs when the plaintiff/victim drops the charges (thank you Taylor Lewan for the threats) or the prosecution's assessment is a lack of evidence needed to support a conviction.

    2. Worth reading:


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