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College Basketball Star Found Not Guilty of Heinous Allegations: Has #MeToo Gone Too Far?

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Two quick things to preface all of this with:

  1. Alleged victims of crime absolutely have a right to their day in court.
  2. “Not guilty” does not mean “innocent.”

That all being said … It’s hard to look at the story of former University of Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. and not ask yourself: Has the #MeToo movement gone too far?

Shannon’s career and life were turned upside down, thanks to nothing more than allegations — and those were allegations he was found not guilty of on Thursday.

Shannon was facing charges of felony rape and aggravated sexual assault, per ESPN, after a September 2023 incident where he allegedly assaulted a woman at a bar in Lawrence, Kansas.

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The 6-foot-6 guard was arrested in December, and has vehemently denied the allegations since.

Do you think #MeToo has been hijacked by bad-faith actors?

Despite Shannon’s claims of innocence, the mere allegation was enough to truly derail his life.

Not only was the talented prospect (many had him pegged as a top-25 NBA Draft pick before any of this drama unfolded) suspended by his own team, but when he eventually did return to the court, he was harassed endlessly on the road.

Shannon — despite not even being convicted of anything at the time — was jeered by opposing fans, and subjected to mean-spirited “No means no” chants.

On Thursday, a courtroom ultimately found Shannon not guilty.

You can see the emotional response from Shannon and his team below, courtesy of WCIA-TV’s Bret Beherns:

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“We’re happy with the outcome,” Mark Sutter, one of Shannon’s attorneys, said, according to ESPN. “Terrence Shannon Jr. finally got his day in court.

“We denied the allegations back in September and on that date, we pledged that one day soon, we would have our day in court and we did. And we’re happy with the outcome.

“And, at the end of the day, I think the public at large owes Shannon Jr. an apology.”

One particularly damning piece of evidence against the alleged victim — and perhaps why Shannon is owed “an apology” — came in the form of a text message exchange, according to the University of Illinois independent student paper, The Daily Illini.

Those messages, which shared the ESPN article regarding Shannon, read:

Friend: (ESPN article link shared) OMG 

Best friend: You got him 

Alleged Victim: YUPPP YESSSIRR

Friend: Got his a** (two money-face emojis)

Life is difficult enough to navigate in 2024. Men don’t need the added looming threat of false — but materially damaging — allegations on top of that.

And yet, the once-virtuous #MeToo movement has increasingly become a vehicle for these damaging allegations to be delivered.

As with most activist causes in life, #MeToo had a somewhat reasonable and/or cause in the beginning, before seemingly being hijacked for far more nefarious purposes (Other examples of that phenomenon include the NAACP and BLM, though the latter has always been a bit dubious).

The core tenet of #MeToo stems from the allegations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was a lecherous creep who used his position of influence to prey on vulnerable women — of which there are quite a few in the depraved entertainment industry.

Those allegations first surfaced en masse in 2017, and it only took a few years to completely torpedo Weinstein’s reputation as he was convicted in 2020 of just the first set of allegations.

A recent conviction overturn, however, has added a new wrinkle to Weinstein’s saga.

Activism, which is what #MeToo has basically become nowadays, and justice do not always mix. That’s an inherent flaw that proponents of #MeToo are always eager to ignore.

For Shannon, #HeToo probably can’t wait to leave this entire ordeal behind him as he prepares for a potential career in the NBA.


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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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