Wait, all men who play sports are idiots? Cameron Conaway thought we were past that.
I’m calling out Defense Attorney Francis Lawrence based on his recent comments regarding the murder trial going on in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A quick recap: University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V is facing first-degree murder and five other charges for the May 2010 death of his ex-girlfriend, University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player, Yeardley Love.
I lived in Charlottesville when this alleged murder happened and I’ve been following the case for about 21 months now. While I fully understand that Lawrence’s job is to prove George Huguely’s innocence, I believe he’s doing so in a way that stereotypes all players of lacrosse, all players of sport, and by insinuation all men who participate in and/or define themselves through said activities.
Lawrence is smart to pair the case that Huguely didn’t commit the murder with a backup plan that would reduce the sentence if Huguely were indeed found to have killed Yeardly. But his argument seems to be that Huguely is too much of an idiot to have committed an act of violence that took even the slightest bit of rational thought, that dismisses the mental side entirely while answering yes to Could he have repeatedly smashed her head into a wall until she died?
… and this means he’s carrying his bucket of arguments across the crumbling bridge of a male stereotype that continues to permeate our culture and make it difficult to have a conversation about men and manhood.
According to this article by the Associated Press that was picked up by ESPN, Lawrence told the jury that a videotape of Huguely’s interview with police would show he’s incapable of being a calculating criminal. Interesting, considering that George Huguely is a student at UVA—Thomas Jefferson’s pride and joy and a place so frequently ranked the #1 public university that many people view it as Ivy League. But Lawrence wasn’t finished:
He’s not complex. He’s a lacrosse player.
The statement has been sitting raw within me for days. What does it even mean? That George is a stereotypical jock and that if he did kill Yeardly it was certainly with blind alcohol-infused rage void of rational thought? If so (and I’ve yet to discover a better reason), the strength of the statement is based on a culturally accepted assumption that grows from the roots of a chiefly male stereotype: Men who embrace physicality and sport are all dumb jocks incapable of complexity.
Love to the families of George Huguely, Yeardley Love, and anyone else struggling as a result of what’s going on.