Earlier this week, Tempe, Arizona police released documents that detail even more rape allegations against former NFL star Darren Sharper, who today will appear in court to face rape charges stemming from separate incidents in Los Angeles. In total, Sharper's alleged to have drugged 11 people and raped 7 women across 4 states. It's shocking when anyone faces charges of being a serial rapist, but in the case of Sharper, folks have expressed an added undercurrent of confusion over how a man that good looking could do something that horrible. But he's handsome! Handsome men don't need to rape women!
The story of Darren Sharper's alleged double life is so fucked up that it seems almost tailor made to be a RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES episode of Law & Order: SVU or a Lifetime Original movie called "Unsportsmanlike Conduct." In addition to having an impressive career with several teams in the NFL, the 38-year-old commentator on the NFL network was active in pro-woman charities. He participated in a breast cancer charity called Get Checked or Check Out, was a vocal cheerleader of a women's sports camp called Football Camp for Her (on November 1st, he touted a charity event for the organization on Twitter, telling women that if they attended they would be "touched in many ways"). He contributed to a book called "NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters," when, according to WWLT, he wrote,
My daughter makes me mindful of how women are treated: undervalued and exploited. Which is why I feel compelled to take advantage of this opportunity to speak up about domestic violence.
Sharper was pretty beloved on a superficial level, too, a regular in Sexiest Players In The NFL slideshows (here he is featured by Essence). Blog posts raved about his dimples (and speculated about his sexuality, on account of the fact that he's so pretty). Pinterest users regularly featured him on their requisite sexy dude boards. He even dated Gabrielle Union for a spell. Despite allegations that, as a Minnesota Viking in 2005, he participated in that team's infamous "pleasure cruise" scandal, his reputation was pretty clean to the casual NFL observer.
Meanwhile, Sharper was allegedly up to all kinds of awful shit. According to court documents filed in Los Angeles last week, Sharper drugged 11 people — 10 women and one man — and raped 7 women between September of last year and mid-January of this year. The MO in all of the allegations is chillingly similar — victims reported meeting Sharper at a nightclub, being invited back to his hotel room or apartment, and then given a drink by Sharper. The victims report that shortly thereafter, they passed out. Some say they woke up while Sharper was sexually assaulting them; others say they woke up the next day in varying states of undress and with no memory of what happened the night before except for a feeling that they'd been sexually assaulted. In at least a couple of the incidents, one woman reported seeing Sharper sexually assaulting her passed out friend. Here's the LA Times with more on that.
The first case mentioned in court documents occurred Sept. 22, when the alleged victim met Sharper at an event for the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans police said the woman reported drinking a beverage provided by Sharper.
Her next memory was several hours later, waking up "to Defendant Sharper on top of her sexually assaulting her." She was examined at a hospital the next day and Sharper's DNA was found, court records said.
Less than 24 hours after that alleged assault occurred, Sharper was attending a charity event for his women's football camp. Touched in many ways, indeed.
Sharper's appearing in court today to face charges regarding allegations that he raped two women on two separate incidents that he met in the same Los Angeles night club, as well as charges that he drugged 5 people with a combination of morphine and Ambien in conjunction with those rapes. If he's convicted, he could face 30 years in prison. But even if he's exonerated as his lawyers are being paid to insist he will be, he's not off the hook by any means; in Las Vegas, Louisiana, and Tempe, Arizona, investigations are still ongoing. Tempe police say that they're close to filing charges in the incident that occurred there detailed in documents released Tuesday.
Sharper has been suspended indefinitely from his job at the NFL network. (No word yet from the NFL if having him back in the broadcasting booth would be more of a "distraction" than having a gay player suit up.)
Things do not look good for the good-looking Darren Sharper, and there will almost certainly be more developments as more facts come to light. But the Sharper scandal has brought bubbling to the surface something deeply fucked up about the way people think who rapes, why they rape, and how they rape.
If we ignore the deeply racist, deliberately trolly comments on stories about the allegations against Sharper, a shocking amount of commentary about the rapes comments on perceived tension between Sharper's good looks and his "need" to rape, as though rape is something that only ugly, poor guys do because women don't pay attention to them. Here are some things people — some bloggers, some Tweeters, some commenters — actually wrote about Sharper in the wake of the rape charges:
Darren is a sexy man!!! Can't imagine him having to rape anybody to get some!!
I doubt it. He does not need to rape a beaux! They give it up willingly for a high price! But if you cross him watch out.
Darren Sharper Can't Get The Willing Coochie Anymore???
Darren Sharper is too fine to be raping people... (That has nothing to do with him being sick but still)
Darren Sharper too fine to be out here living that roofie life. Unless his peepee is just SUPER itty bitty...
Whaaaat! With dimples like that why would he have to rape anyone? Damn, I hope it's not true I used to love him on the Saints. SMH
I don't get it. Why would Darren Sharper fine ass need to rape somebody? It's a hoax for sure! Has to be.
Darren sharper too fine to do the raping...he should be fighting from getting raped by women
Darren sharper is sexy and handsome, hoes probably tryna set him up. I know them hoes lying.
Despite the mounting evidence against him, some people seem to believe that a good looking man couldn't possibly be a monster. If moral people aren't always usually exceptionally good looking, then has Disney been leading me astray all these years? Sick garbage-people come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and, yeah, sometimes they're handsome and maybe they once dated Gabrielle Union and maybe they do charity work. Maybe they have money and look really good in suits. None of this means they're incapable of rape. Allowing an alleged rapist's attractiveness and money to cast doubt on his innocence or guilt displays a profound lack of understanding of what rape is, what it's about, and who does it. It also gives people yet another excuse to doubt rape victims. These hoes are lying, obviously. Because of course they wanted to fuck him. Because everybody wanted to fuck him.
Rapists do not want to fuck. They want to rape.
Who knows how many other Darren Sharpers are out there? Who knows how many other victims of Darren Sharper are out there but never came forward because they thought no one would believe that a handsome, successful man would "need" to drug and rape them?
Commission of rape has nothing to do with what's good on the outside and everything to do with what's rotten on the inside. Even if what's on the outside is a pair of dimples you once thought were killer.