It was not a good weekend for former San Antionio Spurs star Alvin Robertson. He was arrested in Arkansas on Friday evening as one of seven people tied to a child sex trafficking operation which kidnapped a 14-year-old girl and forced her into prostitution and stripping. The ring allegedly included Robertson's girlfriend Racquel McIntosh as well. But Roberston claims he was set up because of his fame to be the fall guy for the real traffickers.
Several months ago, a 14-year-old girl was kidnapped from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. Her captors drove her around Bexar County and the surrounding areas, forcing her to have sex with a number of men for money. They also forced her to dance at a strip club in Texas. After 14 days in captivity, the girl was able to break away from her captors on the street and flag down some local police officers for help.
Her rescue launched a three-month investigation which has arrested seven people connected with her kidnapping and trafficking. Most recently, that includes the former NBA player. Robertson claims he had nothing to do with the forced prostitution of the girl. However, his rather extensive criminal record, which includes seven assault charges and at least one violation of a protective order, may work against him in this case.
Also working against Robertson may be the court of public opinion. This is by no means the first time an NBA player has been involved in a scandal that involves the sexual abuse, rape, or assault of a woman or girl. However, I believe this is the first time a current or former NBA player has been accused of human trafficking. Professional athletes as a whole, including NBA players, have been implicated in so many cases involving the abuse of women, it's hard not to notice a pattern. Why do sports stars feel that they can get away with raping and selling women and girls? Is it because they so often do get away with it?
What does it mean if sports superstars are doing things like prostituting young girls and forcing them to strip at strip clubs? Will that behavior be something that the kids who look up to these sports stars want to model? Will it mean that the exploitation and sale of children becomes increasingly normalized?
Alvin Roberston will get his day in court. And I hope the 14-year-old girl who was forced to endure the unthinkable for two weeks gets justice as well. But as for any more significant cultural ramifications of another sports star scandal that involves sexual violence against women and girls? Only time will tell.