The tale of two Kobes

It’s hard to find a written opinion on the Kobe Bryant rape trial, especially from a nationally syndicated source. ESPN and Sports Illustrated reserve their reporting to the facts because rape is a touchy subject (and rightfully so). But this isn’t exactly an ordinary rape case.

So, although I said I didn’t care about this trial in a previous column, I feel somewhat obligated to outline the ridiculous figure it’s cutting in the world, and the consequences it will likely have.

I’m not talking about how 10- year-olds will react to their idol being accused of rape-that’s covered ground. I’m not talking about the image of pro athletes, the sanctity of marriage or the integrity of women who file charges of rape. Although this trial brings them all into question, I’m going to avoid these sensitive issues like many other writers have done recently.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the other pertinent question of movie rights. I’m talking about who’s writing the script, who’s producing, and how much will they have to pay an already wealthy man and an already suicidal girl to be able to release it.

The answer is completely dependent on the outcome of the trial, and possibly Kobe’s marriage, because the outcome will decide who is good and who is evil. Without these two staples of modern plot structure, there would be no movie, and so two distinct factions have been developing stories since day one to deal with the two possible outcomes.

Let’s say hypothetically that the USA Network is working on the story for a not guilty verdict, and Lifetime, television for women, is writing for the guilty-as-sin outcome.

When the news about accusations being brought against Kobe first broke on bottom lines and special reports, the writers for both networks were told to begin working, but there still wasn’t sufficient material.

Then Kobe held a press conference to admit infidelity, maintain his innocence, and buy his wife’s support back with a grossly overpriced ring. That’s when ESPN’s content and daytime ratings finally surpassed soap operas in outlandishness, and the writers began licking their chops.

When his wife accepted the ring and agreed to stand by her troubled husband, two distinct plot lines developed that have continued to flourish throughout the trial.

The writers for Lifetime began developing a story that centered around Kobe’s wife and his accuser (both of whom have lost their actual names and become Kobe’s possessions). It is a story about struggle, strength, sorrow and salvation. Kobe’s wife is depicted as the strong, infinitely respectable woman.

Despite the fact that she has Kobe by the balls and could take him for all he’s worth, she decides, amazingly enough, to stick with him through the trial.

Meanwhile, Kobe is villainized in an aurally explicit, but visually depriving, rape scene, and several flashbacks that show him womanizing in sleazy bars. A recurring theme will be Kobe’s use of the phrase, “Come on, baby, I’m Kobe Bryant.”

The accuser is portrayed as a troubled youth who finally starts getting her act together by the end of the movie. The turning point for her character comes during an emotional confrontation with Kobe’s wife, which ends in a teary embrace.

When the guilty verdict is finally passed down, Kobe once again delivers his definitive plea, this time to the judge: “Come on, baby, I’m Kobe Bryant.” Then comes a resolution involving a divorce and ample compensation for the defendant. The end.

The writers for USA, however, didn’t begin writing the bulk of their story until it was discovered that the accuser had the semen and pubic hair of two different men in her underwear when she was medically examined the night after the alleged incident.

Their movie begins at a party, where the accuser and her boyfriend are in an intense argument. She is accusing him of cheating on her, but he is clearly innocent based on his level-headed charm. The confrontation ends with her slapping him and running off.

Immediately, she calls another boy on her cell phone and minutes later he picks her up from the lawn of the party. She proceeds to seduce him in the back seat of his Mustang, and insists on having sex with him, despite the fact that he verbalizes his concern that she has a boyfriend.

Kobe will be shown as the misunderstood, alienated athlete, who desires real contact with real people more than anything.

Although his quick rise to fame has left him with questionable morals, he is starting to get his act together by the end of the movie.

After the sexual encounter, Kobe and his accuser engage in some light-hearted pillow talk, and then she leaves the room, dancing to the song “Walking on Sunshine.”

Later that night, she returns to her boyfriend’s house, where they have sex and argue. She leaves raging mad, and then decides to involve Kobe in a scheme to make her boyfriend jealous.

When the not-guilty verdict is finally passed down, Kobe delivers an inspiring speech about the value of strong marriages and fidelity. Meanwhile, the accuser has a nervous breakdown in the hall where she accuses her lawyers of cheating on her. The end.

Although I would like to take credit for writing these fascinating stories, I can’t. All I did was embellish a little on the stories written by the attorneys of both sides.

Not only will USA have to pay Kobe and his accuser copious amounts of money for the movie rights, they will also have to pay the defense attorneys for the script.

Such is the nature of this trial. If you don’t believe me, read between the lines on ESPN.com.

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