I was expecting to recap a San Diego State men’s basketball game tonight.
This is not a recap of a San Diego State men’s basketball game.
A few hours before the Aztecs were slated to tip off against Cal State Dominguez Hills, we learned of a two civil suits (one already filed, another apparently on its way) against sophomore star Jalen McDaniels, alleging that while in high school he filmed and shared sex videos without the knowledge or consent of the women involved.
There are times like this where I realize the limitations of having a blog where we like to crack jokes and take things a little less than seriously. Grappling with real world societal problems I’m not so good at, and I’m sort of at a loss for a nuanced take right now beyond, “This is some fucked up shit.”
If you want a more detailed dive into all this, I recommend you read Zeigs’ reporting. And if you want a wrenching account from the perspective of the alleged victims, check out this piece from Seattle Weekly from a couple weeks back that does not mention McDaniels by name. Beware it’s …
… not pleasant.
SDSU released a statement basically stating that since no charges were filed, McDaniels is still in school and still on the team but — rest assured — the situation shall be monitored. How long the program has been aware of the full scope of this situation is a question that will certainly now be asked most pointedly.
But there are a lot of pointed questions to go around, including for us, the fans of the team. How do we react to our team’s star player allegedly having done some super shitty things?
Do we retreat into tribalism, say “our guy, right or wrong” and cheer his dunks and jumpers like nothing happened?
Do we cheer for the uniform, but not the man?
Do we check out emotionally until McDaniels makes his eventual lucrative exit from Montezuma Mesa?
That’s up to y’all, really. Just know that by downplaying, victim blaming and putting sports ahead of your humanity, you’ll not only make us all look like assholes, you’ll perpetuate the kind of fucked up jock culture that allows this kind of behavior to persist. Avoid doing that, would be my advice.
For me, tonight’s game was kind of a surreal experience. I rooted for the Aztecs, but without my usual gusto (read: overly loud clapping that annoys most of the people in the immediate vicinity). I definitely didn’t cheer for McDaniels. Who knows if the rest of the season will feel like this.
Many of the fans at Viejas tonight were in a forgiving mood. Or maybe they hadn’t heard the news. Or maybe they’re the kind of people who don’t give a shit about anything but the scoreboard. At any rate, McDaniels was cheered in pregame introductions, and drew hearty ovations in the second half when he drained two 3s and emphatically finished an impossible alley-oop.
Jalen McDaniels is still a really good player. The Aztecs beat CSUDH 99-46.
That’s just not that important right now. At least not to me.