I know Derrick Rose scored a career-high 50 points in an NBA game Wednesday night. I know he led the Timberwolves to a win over the Jazz. I know many people, myself included, didn’t believe Rose could ever reach that level of play again. I know I was wrong.
I know Rose has dealt with a long history of injuries since he won the 2010-11 MVP award. I know those injuries took away his athleticism, speed and explosion, tools that made him one of the most exciting offensive weapons the league has ever seen. I don’t know how he felt as he worked and rehabbed every day to stick in the NBA. I don’t know what it was like for Rose to so quickly fall from MVP to backup point guard. I know his tears as he walked off the floor were genuine, and I can never know what exactly brought them out.
I know it’s easy to be a prisoner of the moment. I know I was glued to the Timberwolves-Jazz game as Rose kept hitting jumpers and flying toward the basket like he had come out of a time machine from 2011. I know the easy narrative was to mark this performance as a “redemption game” with Rose overcoming so much “adversity” to reclaim his old status for at least one night.
But I know “adversity” is too broad and conveniently ignores Rose’s history. I know Rose faced rape allegations in 2015 and addressed those allegations in 2016 as part of a civil lawsuit. I know Rose’s accuser claimed Rose and two of his friends gang-raped her, and I know Rose denied her version of events, saying she “consented to all sexual interaction.” I don’t know what happened between Rose and that woman. I know an eight-member jury found Rose not liable in the civil lawsuit. I know that’s not the same as guilt or innocence in a criminal case.
I know Rose’s testimony in the case was disturbing. I know Rose and his friends didn’t discuss why they were going to the woman’s home because, in Rose’s words, “We men. You can assume.” I know Rose failed to define consent in a deposition, according to one of the accuser’s lawyers, and I know Rose assumed the woman gave consent because, “In my mind, she consented every time we had sex. Why wouldn’t she do it that time?” I know Rose and his legal team successfully managed to have his accuser named publicly, and I know Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald threatened sanctions as part of that ruling if Rose continued to “utilize language that shames and blames the victims of rape.”
I also know after Rose was found not liable, Fitzgerald joked, “Mr. Rose, my best wishes to you and your career — except when the Knicks play the Lakers.” (The civil trial took place in Los Angeles.) I know Rose took photos with smiling jurors following their decision.
Don’t see this every day. @drose and atty posing with giddy jurors after verdict. #DoevRose pic.twitter.com/hbmxnPnyf6
— Joel Rubin (@joelrubin) October 19, 2016
I don’t know how the jury came to its conclusion. I don’t know how the entire process mentally and emotionally impacted Rose’s accuser, especially with her identity being shared. I know there were no “winners” on any side of the situation. And I know it’s not done because Rose’s accuser will have her appeal heard on Nov. 16.
I know none of this is easy. I don’t know how we should address these kinds of accusations against athletes when covering them.
I know this is not the best way to do it:
“He’s got a lot of stuff going on off the court,” Timberwolves analyst Jim Petersen said while watching Rose, overcome by emotion, celebrate his 50-point feat and a victory over the Jazz. “And I’m not a judge and I’m not a jury, and to my estimation he’s not been convicted of anything but what he is — is he plays hard. He is a gutty basketball player.”
What a moment for Derrick Rose, fighting back tears after the buzzer in Minnesota 🙏 pic.twitter.com/hcPPOKH7i7
— ESPN (@espn) November 1, 2018
I know I don’t have the answer. I don’t know how to properly mesh the story of Rose, the player, and Rose, the man accused of a heinous crime.
I know I am not the best person to analyze this. I know this is a big conversation, one that goes well beyond the realm of sports. I know it’s not going away.
But I know this is worth discussion, not dismissal. And that’s what I know (and don’t know) about Derrick Rose.