There is an outrage in the city of Hoquiam located in the state of Washington. Tyler Smith, a senior and football player at Hoquiam High School, is out on bail after being charged with two counts of rape. The ruckus in Hoquiam is occurring because Tyler Smith has been permitted to continue playing on the football team. The community is angry, confused, and disgusted with the actions of both Tyler and Hoquiam High School’s officials. Community leaders, including parents of Hoquiam High School, feel that stronger actions should be taken; a handful of individuals believe that Smith, a legal adult, should receive the same treatment as the NFL football players.
Smith was investigated concerning one of his charges received in the summer of 2012. Asked by investigators whether the victims told him “no,” Smith stated, “Yeah, but I thought she was saying ‘no’ for pleasure and not to stop having sex.” Furthermore, the Superintendent of the school district claims that he is sickened by the accusations, but Smith should be allowed to play on Hoquiam’s football team. The school officials respect the judicial system and presume Smith innocent until proven guilty.
Ferguson, David. “High School Football Player Still on Team While out on Bail for Two Sets of Rape Charges.” Raw Story. 14 Oct. 2014.
Elliott, Rebecca. “Important Developments in Football Player’s Scandal.” Time, 11 Sept. 2014.
McLaughlin, Michael. “Suspect In UVA Student’s Disappearance Gets Charged Raping Other Woman.” The Huffington Post. 20 Oct. 2014.
Student Researcher: Terrance McQueen, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College
Rape is any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person. At Hoquiam High School, there was no disciplinary action taken towards Tyler Smith for his commissions of rape. This raises an ethical problem because Smith should receive some type of punishment for his actions. Was he not punished because he was a football player? Was he not punished because of his athletic ability? These questions are irrelevant when it comes to the determination of guilt and the meting out of punishment. Rape often leads to murder; thankfully Tyler didn’t murder his victims. Rape is more than just sex; rape is violence. Not punishing Smith can lead students to believe that they can get away with rape because Smith did.
Smith’s situation is similar to what is occurring in the NFL with the Ray Rice case and the University of Virginia case. These cases profile men who treat women as objects. In the Ray Rice case, he treated his then fiancé and current wife like an object by striking her and leaving her unconscious. The UVA’s case follows suit. Not only did the UVA suspect rape Hannah Graham, but he abducted her as well. In fact, the UVA suspect is linked to other cases of rape. These cases show that rape is an act of violence that can be life-threatening, and must be punished. Tyler Smith of Hoquiam High School allegedly raped two girls before he was charged. The pattern is that rape can be done multiple times until the actions of the suspects catch up with them. With rape, as with any act of violence, there is no informed consent. Rape and violence are forced; nothing forced respects the consent of others.
If Smith had been charged or treated like an NFL player, he would have been suspended from the team. High school football players and athletes in general are held to a higher standard. Smith was not held to the same standard allegedly because there was not sufficient proof that he committed the rapes. However, Smith should not have been permitted to continue to play football because he was an adult and this was his second allegation of rape. If Smith were held to the same standard as the NFL players, this would have set a proper example for the students of Hoquiam and its athletes that rape is to be taken seriously. In this case, rape was not treated as the crime that it is, and something should have been done about it by school officials. According to Raw Story, Smith was overwhelmed by pressure from the parents of the rape complainants and the community of Hoquiam, so he quit the football team. This decision should have been made by school officials, not by Smith.