Admittedly, I don’t follow college sports or their athletes. I could generally care less, but I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz recently about the possible charges facing Florida State University’s quarterback Jameis Winston as a result of a rape accusation. On December 5, the State Attorney, William Meggs, announced that Winston would not be facing criminal charges due to what he called a lack of evidence, elaborating, “We have a duty as prosecutors to only file … charges if we have a reasonable likelihood of a conviction.” It’s important to interject here to explain what Meggs meant. Criminal charges were not filed because prosecutors did not believe that they would be able to prove to either a judge or jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the crime(s) in question occurred. That does not mean a crime did not occur. It means there isn’t enough evidence to prove it in a court of law. It does not mean the victim falsely reported a rape, falsely implicated Winston, or did anything falsely. It means that there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime occurred. I would also like to venture that even if charges were filed against Winston […]
It never fails that every six months or so, someone who knew me from my days as a journalism student prods me to get back into the field. Their arguments always run like this: “You’re such a good writer. You should really consider it; it would be so easy for you.” “But don’t you miss it? The research, the interviewing … creating the story?” “Why’d you get a degree in it if you’re not going to use it?” The truth is, I do miss it. I miss writing with a purpose. The only writing I do these days are blogs and even then, it’s only when I’m in turmoil. I would love to write about things that have little or nothing to do with me, my feelings, and my experiences. And I really miss the writing process, especially the editing. That was always the part I enjoyed most: going back to a piece with fresh eyes, looking for some detail or insight I left out that the reader(s) wouldn’t get anywhere else.
Yesterday, Professor Clyde Woods passed away. Shock doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. They’re something more like disbelief and emptiness. While I’m not going to wax poetic about his contributions to academe (others can do that much better than I can, trust me), I do need to reflect on him as a person in my life. I met Dr. Woods while earning my undergrad in African American Studies at the University of Maryland. I took two of the best classes of my college career with him, “Hip-Hop & The Blues” and “Washington & Prince George’s [County] History, Culture & Policy.” I always appreciated the way he pushed us to make sense of the world around us, examining everything from a new lens. He gave us the leeway to do things that fell outside of the expected boxes, something that other professors balked at. I’ll never forget our trip to Riversdale Mansion, which indulged my obsession with antebellum architecture and forced us to go beyond the walls of our classroom, beyond the steps of campus, and really see the community.
I was reading someone’s blog and they said What I’m upset about is that this day should matter to someone else just as much as it does to me. … I’m feeling disappointed in the people around me, but it’s displaced anger. I’m not mad at them. This cross isn’t theirs to bear. I wish they were a little more supportive and a little more intuitive about how I might be feeling, but they’re all doing the best they know how to do. It immediately made me think of how I feel about Dave’s death and how sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who still grieves. It makes me question myself, wondering if there’s something wrong with me that I can’t seem to get past it. And it often borders on resentment. I resent that they act like they don’t miss him, that they don’t feel like his death was unfair, that he’s just a bygone memory. And I believe they all have those feelings, but … are mine more intense? Maybe I just let mine bubble to the surface more.
I loved my friend. He went away from me. There’s nothing more to say. The poem ends Soft as it began. I loved my friend. ~”Poem” by Langston Hughes Yesterday, David Andrew Ellis would have been 27 years old. Who knows what else he’d have going on in his life, or if we’d even still be a part of each other’s post-college lives. I’d like to think so, but five years ago, I would’ve also thought he’d still be alive. This year we celebrated his birthday quietly, with the traditional dinner with the usual suspects, minus a few. I can’t lie; it was great to see everyone again. We keep up with each other superficially on twitter, blogs, facebook, etc., but nothing compares to getting the crew back together in our old stomping grounds.