I’m catching up on the Steubenville (Ohio) rape-and-Twitter-and-football case. It’s not unfamiliar. Years ago I read a shocking but not surprising book about a New Jersey rape case that also involved high school jocks seen as heroes and the girl they raped seen as oh who cares. Our Guys, by Bernard Lefkowitz.
Lefkowitz’s sweeping narrative, informed by more than 200 interviews and six years of research, recreates a murky adolescent world that parents didn’t–or wouldn’t–see: a high school dominated by a band of predatory athletes; a teenage culture where girls were frequently abused and humiliated at sybaritic and destructive parties, and a town that continued to embrace its celebrity athletes–despite the havoc they created–as “our guys.” But that was not only true of Glen Ridge; Lefkowitz found that the unqualified adulation the athletes received in their town was echoed in communities throughout the nation. Glen Ridge was not an aberration. The clash of cultures and values that divided Glen Ridge, Lefkowitz writes, still divides the country.
Steubenville sounds as if it fits the pattern quite neatly. The Steubenville High School football coach didn’t bench the players involved. The Times tried to ask him about that.
Approached in November to be interviewed about the case, Saccoccia said he did not “do the Internet,” so he had not seen the comments and photographs posted online from that night. When asked again about the players involved and why he chose not to discipline them, he became agitated.
“You made me mad now,” he said, throwing in several expletives as he walked from the high school to his car.
Nearly nose to nose with a reporter, he growled: “You’re going to get yours. And if you don’t get yours, somebody close to you will.”