I didn’t want to comment on this incident, much like gun control after the Newtown shooting, but the questions weighed too heavily on my mind. There are two situations here:
- On New Year’s eve, January 1, 2013 two Lloyd Irvin students raped a girl.
- In 1989, Lloyd Irvin was present for a gang rape of a 17 year old girl. (A good write-up of the details).
How do either of these reflect on Lloyd Irvin as a man and as a coach? The people that have come to his defense so far have chosen their words poorly. But I asked myself many questions on these two incidents as I was stuck at home for several days with high fever, watching Keenan have a brilliant performance against the world’s best black belts over the weekend.
I think basically many people are waiting for the dust to settle, and for Lloyd Irvin to address the community on the facts of the situation and his place in it all.
In terms of sport jiu jitsu, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his team and his carefully orchestrated training system. The emphasis on dedication to technique through drilling and hard training is the stuff that makes top level competitors of anyone willing to put in the work (immense amount of work).
And so, as I was processing all these events, I was also thinking about Joe Paterno, a man who I admire as a coach as well. The question that weighed most heavily on me is how do moral failings in the realm of sex fit with the greatness of a man in the realm of sport? Does the former override the value of the latter? Same as with Joe Paterno, it’s not Lloyd Irvin’s action but his lack of action to stop wrong-doing and not speaking up at the right time that people have condemned him for.
Rape is a crime that for 99.99% of our civilization has gone unpunished, and has been used to terrorize not just individuals but whole populations. The 20th century has seen the law in the western world crash hard against the brutality of rape: a situation that often has only one supporting witness: the victim. So, modern progressive society has slowly started to err on the side of the victim when uncertain, because the cost of being wrong is too great. But the victim is still often pressured, bullied, and vilified.
I am unwilling to too hastily condemn the man as many have. I want to hear him speak about it, and I want to hear the full story in whatever form that’s still possible 24 years later. Perhaps that is my moral failing and I’m being naive. I continue to struggle with this. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I hope the two rapists in the New Years eve incident (if found guilty) will go to jail for a long time, and that the victim can find peace and recover to good sanity and good health.