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Sorry, I don’t have to appreciate the way Josh Lueke has “persevered”

Mar 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Josh Lueke

Rays’ reliever Josh Lueke was charged with rape, pleaded out to a lesser charge and did 42 days in prison. As far as I’m concerned he’s human garbage, even if some baseball teams think it’s worth still employing him because of his fastball (which hasn’t been able to get anyone out, but that’s another topic).

So forgive me if I’m not on board with a blog post, the premise of which is essentially “Josh Lueke may have raped someone but being good at baseball offers him redemption of some kind.”  Really:

You can hate Josh Lueke’s guts, but you have to appreciate the way he has persevered through the critical mistake he made and all the opportunities that have passed him by … as Lueke finds success for the first time at the major level, we’ll be captivated by his dominating arsenal, and justifiably or not, his past will be forgotten as Rays fans watch him help their team win games.

No, I don’t have to appreciate that at all.

As for the second part: sadly, yes, some people may forget that because as we’ve regrettably learned so often of late, it’s amazing what people will forget or even forgive if you happen to be good at sports. But the truth is that sports are not a vehicle for moral or ethical redemption. They are games, no more, no less, and the noise in the linked post is the logical extension of our society’s fetish for grafting narratives onto said games.

If there is such a thing as redemption for a rapist like Leuke, it comes via one’s acts in the real world. The price they pay. The things they learn. The efforts they make to redress the damage they’ve done and the efforts they make to prevent such damage from being done again. It is measured by the true character of the person, not their athletic accomplishments. I don’t know Lueke or anything else about him besides his rap sheet and his page so I’m not the arbiter of his soul, conscience or ethical self, but I do know that flinging a baseball well or even being a good clubhouse citizen — something the author also gives Lueke credit for – is completely irrelevant with respect to that stuff.

As for the author: pro tip: if you ever are again inclined to write something which basically says “this guy may have raped someone but sports …” just stop. Please. Don’t even consider it.

119 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. bklynbaseball - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    When confronted with his actions, he lied about it to the police. When confronted with the evidence, changed his story and pleaded GUILTY to a lesser charge, ostensibly to avoid a very embarrassing and costly trial – not to mention the very real chance of being convicted on the top charge of the indictment. His actions are what lawyers like to call “consciousness of guilt” – he knows what the hell he did and he knows it was wrong and he just did what he had to do to avoid going to prison. Plain an simple.

    • polonelmeagrejr - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      your post was better than the column.

  2. bklynbaseball - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    In other words, he did it.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:55 PM


  3. realgone2 - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    So wait a second, the girl got drunk and they had sex and that’s rape? We have two scenarios here. She passed out and he banged her (which is rape) or she was drunk and had sex with him. Then instead of not wanting to look like a slut called rape.

    “a drunk person, by definition, cannot give consent.” – Then every guy who has ever had sex with a drunk girl is a rapist then?

    • drewsylvania - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Read the linked articles and educate yourself on the applicable California state laws.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      This isn’t Brian Banks. Yes, you’re right, some women have made up rape charges. But the number who do are very miniscule and can statistically be ignored. How about reading some facts?

      “The woman eventually left the bar along with several of the players. She ended up in the apartment of Hamilton and Lueke.

      The woman told police she remembered vomiting into the toilet at the apartment. While doing so, the woman told police someone she could not identify was standing at her side masturbating on her.

      She said she passed out, and when she awoke at around 8:45 a.m., she told police she was lying on a couch with her pants down and other parts of her clothing were missing.

      She told police she felt violated and that she never agreed to have sex with anyone. Investigators later obtained DNA samples from semen found on the woman’s jeans and white tank top and from an anal swab.

      A report from the Kern County Crime Lab states, “Josh Lueke matches this DNA” from the anal swab, tank top strap and hair of the alleged victim.”

      • itsme1313 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        That is called RAPE or maybe even GANG RAPE. My God…

    • splintchesthair - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Right, because there’s no stigma attached to being a rape victim. All a woman has to do is shout “rape,” point at the guy, and then she gets to go about her merry way, skipping along a path made of red licorice and gumdrops.

      • rmday77 - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        The idea that “crying rape” is somehow beneficial or profitable for a woman is generally ridiculous.

        A woman has a bad night out, does some things she regrets… and then tries to “cover” for it by going to the police? There’s a good chance the police will ignore or blame her for it. If they actually pursue the case, there’s even more exposure for her from friends, family, and the media. If the case goes to trial, she gets put on the stand where the defence attorney will do everything he can to ridicule and discredit her.

        If it comes out that she lied, she could be looking at charges or a lawsuit.

        If a woman wants to avoid being called a slut, pursuing rape charges against a professional athlete is probably one of the worst things she can do.

      • chad10 - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        On 11 March 1977, Polanski, then 43 years old, was arrested in Los Angeles for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue magazine.. Polanski was indicted on six counts of criminal behavior, including rape. At his arraignment he pled not guilty to all charges. Geimer’s attorney next arranged a plea bargain in which five of the six charges would be dismissed and Polanski accepted. Because Polanski fled the country before final sentencing, the charges were not dismissed and still remain pending.
        As a result of the plea bargain, Polanski pled guilty to the charge of “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a minor,” and was ordered to undergo 90 days of psychiatric evaluation at Chino State Prison.On release from prison after 42 days ….

        “He did something really gross to me, but it was the media that ruined my life,” she told People in 1997.

        Red licorice and gumdrops, indeed.

    • rmday77 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Every guy who has had sex with a woman who is so drunk she’s passed out is a rapist, yes.

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Yes….to an extent. If you have an existing sexual relationship I assume there is a measure of implied consent….but if it’s someone you just met those are the chances you take. If I get my wife black out drunk and we have sex within the defined parameters we have set….no problem. If I jam it in her ass, which is something I know she doesn’t want….you bet that’s rape.

      When it comes to drinking heavily, it is rape if the girl feels it was rape. If she was hammered and is ok with her actions then it’s not rape. Sort of like consent after the fact. Just like getting in a car when alcohol is involved….you’re taking a risk.

      • rmday77 - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        To put it more simply: If you’re even slightly unsure about whether she is consenting, you stop. If you are even slightly unsure about whether she’s ABLE to consent, you stop. If you think “Could this be considered rape?”, you stop.

        If you try to be a basically decent human being at all times, you will probably steer clear of rape charges.

    • tuberippin - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      realgone2, considering your inability to understand a simple topic (if she’s passed out drunk, DON’T PUT YOUR DICK IN HER), I sincerely hope that you dust up on your understanding of what legally constitutes rape. Sounds like you might need to refer to that information in the future.

  4. randygnyc - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Real gone- I’m sure that’s EXACTLY how it went down. After she was done puking, she told Lueke to be sure he banged her, but only in her @ss and not before she had lost consciousness.

    If this had been done in Steubenville, the judge would have advised the youngsters to wear condoms. Problem solved. At least he didn’t urinate on her, right?

  5. mookie311 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    judging by the grammar, vaguely juvenile writing style and overtly juvenile viewpoint regarding the importance of baseball vs. the importance of, you know, raping a girl, methinks ol’ boy robbie’s little blog isn’t very popular.

    but the more he apologizes for criminals, the more his past of bad writing will be pushed aside.

    …right? that’s how it works, yes?

  6. wildcatwr36 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Everyone forgot about Kobe and Kate Faber. Why not this joker?
    Everyone glorified Josh Hamilton in the home run derby…. that Justin Morneau WON. Why not this joker?
    Ray Lewis…. nuff said.
    Why do we forget? Do we even care? Society is numb to this as long as you can entertain me.

    • tuberippin - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Josh Hamilton did drugs.

      Josh Lueke raped another human being.

      Are you seriously trying to equate these two actions?

      • wildcatwr36 - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        not equating no.
        absolutly not.
        Different levels all together. Its the choices people make.
        You did Drugs and now you don’t… OOOOOOooh goooood for you.

        Its the people that forgive the celebrity so easily yet vilify others close to them.
        I have a hard time celebrating someone who is a piece of trash.
        (Hamilton = Banana peel / Lueke = Hamburger grease)

  7. sportsfan22 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Do any of you understand sometimes people get really drunk and blackout? They still function normally to a certain degree they just act drunk . They then Wake up the next morning and cant remember the late parts of the night, and friends have to tell them what happened. So everyone ASSUMING she was unconscious unless you were there is absurd.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      You’re not wrong–but if it wasn’t rape, why would Lueke lie about it? I suppose he could have been flustered and not thinking clearly enough to say the right thing. Stranger things have happened. But I’ve seen no evidence of that.

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Black out drunk is the same as being unconscious as far as consent is concerned.

      • tuberippin - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        I was unaware so many people on HBT don’t understand what constitutes a rape.

  8. seanb20124 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Sadly all he has to do is win ball games and he will be forgiven. See Mike Tyson and see Perrish Cox, Ruben Patterson
    Lots of examples out there

    • drewsylvania - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      It sickens me that people keep paying Tyson money to appear for them. His presence in The Hangover 2 ruined the movie.

      • jeffa43 - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Tyson got played…. If a girl goes to your hotel room at 2am, been drinking, and dressed in heels and short skirt, been goo goo gaa gaa over you all night, and wants to come in to “hang out”…. she does not just want to “hang out”…

        She either wants you to hang it out, or she is there to play you.

        signed, Logic & reality.

    • yahmule - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      She was 18 years old, you fucking asshole.

  9. randygnyc - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Drew- at least Tyson served a sentence most people agrees was substantial. 42 days? That’s what you’d get for shoplifting a pack of gum.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:48 PM


  10. butchhuskey - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Why is it that sportswriters think PED users should wear a “scarlet letter” but rapists such as Lueke and drunk drivers like Todd Helton are excused and depicted as inspirations? There is something so wrong with that line of thinking that it literally makes me sick.

  11. dremmel69 - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Very strong opinions and viewpoints from those leaving comments. It really makes Mr. Calcaterra’s point that painting Josh Lueke as a sympathetic figure doesn’t make much sense.

    It is bound to bring more focus to Lueke’s crime and all the sleazy details surrounding it. Which have more to do with the dark side of sports culture (both athletes and fans). Since Lueke’s “second chance” will likely put him in similar situations, it is more accurate to say that baseball will provide him with more temptation than redemption.

  12. wgray981 - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    If only people had realized this about Ray Lewis…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      Many people did, in fact do a google search of this blog and Ray Lewis’s name. We blasted him and the people who were celebrating him.

    • sufferingphilsfan - Mar 23, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      ray-ray was a star..and rich and able to pay people off..ray-ray also had the whole world sticking up for him…and last but not least..if ray-ray gets clobbered…the race card gets dusted off…al sharpton sharpens his pitchforks and jesse jackson lights up his rhetoric…and the media, sorry craig, cowers in the corner of political correctness and a little bit of white guilt.

  13. xjokerz - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:20 AM

    Are you kidding me Craig ?! Lol.. You wouldn’t any your daughter to date most pro athletes and for good reason … Ray Lewis killed 2 people … Dude gets a parade and a fancy new job at espn

  14. pillowporkers - Mar 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I agree being blackout drunk is as good as being unconscious in terms of consent, but I have to bring up the point of “don’t get blackout drunk” since everyone else seems to be forgetting it on this thread . It’ll solve a lot of problems that can be incurred in that mindset. Jail, hospital, rape victim, rapee, being fired from a job, being robbed, I can go on…

    • itsme1313 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      if someone is incapable of giving you an expressed consent to have sex, ie way too drunk, puking in a toilet and blacking out, and you have sex with them ITS RAPE. stop. sex ed 101 don’t put your penis inside a girls vagina or butt hole when she is incapable of telling you NO. her drunkness is not to blame for him getting what he wanted. and on top of that he admitted to doing it!!!

  15. amandamartino - Mar 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    @ pillowporkers – So your argument is that the victim shouldn’t have been drinking and therefore she would have had nothing to worry about? Because children don’t get raped every day by family members, teachers, coaches, etc.? Because college students walking to class completely sober don’t get raped every day? Because women on the subway on their way to work in the morning don’t get groped every day? Saying “don’t get blackout drunk, problem solved” is just another example of blaming the victim. We don’t blame murder victims for being murdered, why do we blame rape victims for being raped?

  16. scoocha - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I can’t believe I actually agree with Craig for once. Hell must be freezing over.

  17. scoocha - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    I can’t believe I actually agree with Craig for once. Hell must be freezing over.

  18. sufferingphilsfan - Mar 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    agreed…human garbage and basically, in my opinion, a rapist. got that.

    man..i agreed with craig…amazing.

    i also think the justice system that allows this crap to go on needs a good ripping.

  19. itsme1313 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    if someone is incapable of giving you an expressed consent to have sex, ie way too drunk, puking in a toilet and blacking out, and you have sex with them ITS RAPE. stop. sex ed 101 don’t put your penis inside a girls vagina or butt hole when she is incapable of telling you NO. her drunkness is not to blame for him getting what he wanted. and on top of that he admitted to doing it!!!

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