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A Washington Post reporter tweeted a link to a 2016 story concerning a 2003 case in which Kobe Bryant, the beloved former Los Angeles Laker great who along with eight others was killed last Sunday in a helicopter crash, was accused in 2003 of raping a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado.

The aftermath of that 2003 case has been well-documented. Prosecutors dropped the sexual assault charge after the accuser refused to testify, and the accuser's civil suit against Bryant was settled out of court. Anyone who has access to Google is privy to this information. 

Meanwhile, what happened to the reporter who tweeted the link to the 2016 story was predictable. The reporter received death threats.

Death threats are execrable, they're cowardly and they're as common as dirt.

Death threats are not uniquely American, but they ARE very American. In this country, adults in various walks of life get them. Teens get them. Grieving parents get them. Grieving children get them.

Before the 2016 presidential election, some Trump electors got them. I am not a fan of the President, but I was quite happy those Trump electors gave the death threat issuers the figurative middle finger.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say those electors struck a blow for democracy within the Republic by refusing to yield to the cowardly threats, and doing the job they were tabbed to do.

Reaction to the reporter's tweeting the link to the long-ago Bryant story was mixed among those from her own newspaper. She was suspended. Many Post reporters backed her. She was subsequently re-instated.

One thing is clear. She didn't deserve death threats. No one does.

Ties really aren't so bad

After 80 minutes, a recent hard-fought girls soccer game between Lompoc Valley rivals Lompoc and Cabrillo ended in a 2-2 tie at Cabrillo.

Regulation was over, and so was the game. No overtime. No shootout phase.

I liked that.

Yes, I know. Overtime, and particularly the shootout phase, can provide some wonderful sports drama. So can extra-inning baseball games, the CIF Southern Section tennis tiebreaker in which, if teams are tied in sets and total games won, every player from each team plays a tiebreak set to determine the team winner, etc.

That said, when that Lompoc-Cabrillo soccer game ended after regulation, we all got to go home. No one wound up totally sad (though no one on either side was particularly happy, either). More importantly, the game ended with no further injuries.

Legendary Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan once said that, except for playoffs when someone must advance, all games that are tied after regulation should stay that way. I think there's something to that.

I know some sports fans think there is nothing worse than a game or match ending in a tie. I can think of something worse — some overtired player being injured in overtime of a game or match that would have ended after regulation save some powers that be that decided, in their league or sports jurisdiction, a sports contest must never, EVER end in a tie.

I'd even go so far as to say a tie can provide a life lesson for youngsters. That is, if teams can't settle the issue, or they keep each other from settling the issue as the case may be, after 80 minutes of soccer, 10 innings (or more) of a baseball game, four-plus hours of tennis, etc., maybe both sides deserve exactly what they get — a tie.

Hurray for Super Sunday!

I'm a fan of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but I'm hoping he spends most of his Super Bowl Sunday time on the sidelines hoping his defense gets a stop.

Really I'm just glad the game is happening when it is, though. We need a break.

Pass the guac and ENJOY.

Kenny Cress is a sports writer for Lee Central Coast News, having covered the Central Coast for over two decades.


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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