Kobe Bryant has been in the spotlight for many weeks now with controversy dealing with being charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment. These charges also raise questions about Bryant's endorsement deals, and whether or not he would be in breach of contract. The following states a summary of the case against Kobe Bryant as well as a legal analysis of the case.
Summary of the Kobe Bryant Case The Facts-On June 30, 2003, without informing the Lakers, Kobe Bryant took a private flight to Eagle, Colorado, where he was to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in nearby Vail. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Bryant and three male associates check into a lodge about half-way between Eagle and Vail. Bryant used the alias, "Javier Rodriguez." Around 11 p.m., a 19-year-old woman, who works as a concierge at the lodge went off duty. Around this same time, Mr. Bryant made a phone call to his Newport Beach home, where his wife and daughter were.
Sometime before midnight, the 19-year-old woman went to Bryant's room and stayed for an undetermined period of time. The next morning, Kobe underwent surgery on his knee then returned to the lodge. At approximately noon, the accuser and her parents went to the Eagle County Sheriff's Department to report the sexual assault. She was then taken immediately to Vail Valley Medical Center to have tests done. At 11:30 p.m. the Eagle County Sheriff's Department arrived at Kobe's room to investigate and look for evidence. At 2:30 a.m. on July 2nd, Bryant was taken in a sheriff's patrol car from the Lodge & Spa to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, 52 miles away. His three associates followed in a taxi van. Meanwhile, sheriff's investigators retrieved a hotel computer printout of Bryant's room purchases and phone records. They told employees not to speak publicly about the incident.
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Bryant provided samples of DNA at Valley View Hospital. At 3:30 a.m., Bryant left the hospital in a taxi with his associates and check into the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. At 7:15 p.m., Bryant and associates left the Hotel Colorado and took a flight back to Southern California, having been told, that no arrest warrant would be issued or criminal charges filed until July 7, after the three-day Independence Day weekend. On July 3rd, at 5:30 p.m., Eagle County Sheriff Joseph Hoy obtained an arrest warrant from district judge Russell Granger, sparking controversy, because he did not go through the usual step of having it signed off by the district attorney, Mark D. Hurlbert. On the morning of July 4th, Bryant's Colorado-based attorney, Pamela Mackey, contacted him by phone in California to tell him to come turn himself in. Bryant returned to Eagle County by private plane, accompanied by his wife.
He was fingerprinted, interviewed and booked on suspicion of felony sexual assault and false imprisonment at the Eagle County Justice Center. After posting $25,000 bond, he returned home to Newport Beach. On July 6th, the Eagle County Sheriff's Department announced Bryant's arrest.
The Charges- Mark D. Hurlbert, District Attorney stated to the Court that on the 30th day of June, 2003, in Eagle County, Colorado, Kobe Bean Bryant unlawfully feloniously and knowingly inflicted sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on the 19-year-old victim causing submission by means of sufficient consequence reasonably calculated to cause submission against victim's will. Furthermore, the defendant caused submission of the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.
The Trial-Judge Terry Ruckriegle had schedules a series of pre-trial hearings starting in February and lasting through April. Lucky for Mr. Bryant, this means that the trial should not start until after the end of the NBA season. A January 23 hearing has also been scheduled to discuss other issues, including a defense request to use the accuser's medical records as evidence.
Legal Issues Associated with the Case Ethics is the study of how people ought to act. Knowing this, what does it say for the ethics of Mr. Kobe Bryant? How about for the ethics of the companies that pay him nearly $13 million every year to endorse their products? Innocent until proven guilty is not always the case with celebrity endorsers. Just the accusations of a crime can damage not only the celebrity's reputation, but the reputation of the organizations that he or she is associated with. In turn, this can cost a company millions of dollars.
It seems that more and more celebrities believe that they are invincible and invisible the public eye. For example, Allen Iverson was signed by Reebok to a shoe contract. They stood by him after he was charged with weapons violations. Dennis Rodman paid club dancers to perform sexual acts recently. Terry Glenn, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, was supposed to receive a deferred $1 million signing bonus while with the New England Patriots. He was charged with domestic abuse, which violated a domestic clause in his contract and caused the bonus to be withheld.
Former Cowboy Michael Irvin has been arrested multiple times for possession of marijuana. NFL great Lawrence Taylor has had several drug-related arrests. Daryl Strawberry was a natural when it came to baseball. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, failing to pay child support, and drug possession. To top it off, he has broken house arrest and owed $350,000 in back taxes. Ray Lewis was charged with murder after the 2000 Super bowl. He was fined quite a hefty sum of money but was not suspended from the NFL. More recently in the news, we hear that Cincinnati Red star Pete Rose bet on baseball. O.J. Simpson was put on trial for the murder of his wife and another man. All of these sports legends have made ethical decisions that put their career and image in jeopardy.
Why would a successful athlete jeopardize his investment, his life, his gift with juvenile and unwise behavior? Kobe had signed a $45 million dollar contract just days before the sexual assault incident occurred. Did he stop to think about how Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's of the NBA would be affected by the decision that he was making? Bryant seriously injured his marketability. Michael Sands, a consultant for Sands Digital Media in Los Angeles said, "Nike would be foolish to drop Kobe. He's a bigger household name now than he's ever been in an economy that's terrible. Nike's really hurting for business.
They're getting millions of dollars worth of free advertising because of this fluke. Kobe is an international institution at this point. Now, he has a bad-boy image, which America loves." What do these facts say about the ethics and morality of such organizations as the NFL, MLB, Nike, or Reebok? These organizations are clearly taking advantage of the superstar's misfortune. Not only are the ethics of Kobe, Simpson, Rose, Iverson, and others at question, but so are the companies that are using their situations to their advantage. Many superstars have a morality clause in their contracts. This states that the contract can be terminated if the celebrity breaks certain moral codes. They are usually not taken very seriously, according to some sports agents. Nike could terminate the contract with Bryant at anytime since the moral clause has been breached.
It is clear that legal issues associated with the Bryant case go beyond sexual assault and false imprisonment. They also include ethical issues that will not be tried in court. Bryant was in breach of possibly multiple contracts with the companies that he endorses, but because of his big name, it is seen as an advertising opportunity of these organizations. This theory of advertisers using bad situations to make themselves seen tests the ethics of all people. The current state of professional sports is nothing less than chaotic, and other athletes should worry about there credibility.
With issues like Kobe's endorsements in the news, anyone looking for a big shoe contract of any kind should be worried, as companies may start to be reluctant about signing big stars. They may not be able to handle any more bad publicity. Marc Ganis, a sport marketing expert stated, "The morals clause has been relatively weak - if you're convicted of a felony, the contract can be void, but that's about it," said Ganis. "I don't know if this case will cause a backlash against other athletes, but it'll give some teeth to sponsors for negotiation of morals clauses in the future." Guilty is not only a hazardous word to Bryant, his wife, and his lawyers but also to the companies that spend millions to use his name every year.
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An Overview of the Kobe Bryant Net Worth Case. (2023, Jun 27). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/an-overview-of-the-kobe-bryant-net-worth-case/
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