If you had three daughters

Today’s post was contributed by Rob Teilhet, an Atlanta attorney and former state legislator.

Rob TeilhetIn the span of about 72 hours since Donald Sterling was revealed as a racist on audiotape, the NBA moved decisively by banning him for life and setting in motion a process that will force him to sell his team. There is no place in the NBA for a racist. It has been awesome to see an organization not only get it, but act on it without hesitation.

There is another issue that I wish we would move on with the same urgency: violence against women.

Just as I heard Donald Sterling on tape describing his abhorrent views regarding race, I also saw on videotape Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his girlfriend’s limp body through a casino lobby. Her body was limp because he had beaten her unconscious in front of several witnesses minute before. He is still in the NFL and is still a Raven.

The Tallahassee Police Department declined to investigate an alleged sexual assault of a female student by a football player at the local university, an activity that had been videotaped. Had the tape been obtained and witnesses interviewed at the time of the report, we would probably know whether the assault that was alleged took place. Now, we’ll never know. Everyone involved with the exception of the alleged victim continues in the same capacity they were in before, and no one has been sanctioned or faced discipline in any way for any of it.

In Ann Arbor, the placekicker and star left tackle were alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault and subsequent harassment of the victim. For four years no action was taken. The placekicker was eventually expelled from school–after his eligibility had expired. In the FSU and Michigan cases, the federal government will require some answers for why these public universities chose to do so little. The investigations into the institution’s inaction will last months, probably even years. Would we have accepted that timeline for Mr. Sterling?

And just this morning, I read that we still do not know the answer to what seems to be a relatively simple question: Did Vanderbilt’s then-football coach contact a woman in the days after she made a sexual assault report against four of the team’s players and if he did, what was the nature and purpose of that contact? That is an easy question to find out the answer to, yet it has not been done. It hasn’t been done either because no one in authority cares whether it happened or they don’t want to know the answer. Both are unacceptable.

The saddest part is that I could keep going all morning. When women are the victims, there is so very little action, and it is so very, very late. And people seem to be largely o.k. with that.

Maybe if you had three daughters, you’d feel differently.

A win for Georgia

20131107-115102.jpgGuest Post by Rob Teilhet,  former state legislator
and Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters.
He works as a private practice attorney at The Teilhet Firm.


Any community is made better when it is served by quality public officials. And in order to have quality public officials, we need quality political candidates.

Whether Senator Jason Carter wins next year or not, the State of Georgia isalready better because he is a candidate. Governor Deal will be a better candidate for having to face him. And we as Georgians will be well-served by an election that is competitive, as opposed to a foregone conclusion.

When the outcome of a political campaign is known before it even takes place, the quality of public service plummets. If you doubt that, look at the Unites States Congress. With few exceptions, incumbents in Congress easily dispatch only token opposition, and return to Washington with their minds not on their constituents or their districts or the impact of public policy, but rather on the nonsense that passes for debate in DC these days. If they had to compete for our support, and were held accountable for their results, we would be better served.

I couldn’t care less who his grandfather is. What matters to me is that in the decade I spent in Georgia politics, Jason Carter proved to be one of the smartest and most genuine people I came to know, with real concern for how decisions made in Atlanta impact people and their families. As they get to know him, the people of Georgia are going to like him. And they will listen to him. And the quality of the campaign and its impact on all of us will be better as a result.

Proverbs 27:17 says that as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. No matter the outcome, Georgia’s political iron will be a lot sharper next year as a result of today’s announcement.

For that, we will all be better off. And for that, I am thankful.