Oscar Pistorius has been a huge money-maker for the Paralympic Games and the group wasted no time in declaring him fit to run despite his conviction for manslaughter in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
From the start the International Paralympic Committee has said it would separate the private life of Pistorius from the court case.
“Oscar’s done a great deal for the Paralympic movement, he’s been an inspiration to millions, but obviously his priority now is to see (what) the judge decides. And then if he wishes to resume his athletics career then we wouldn’t step in his way, we would allow him to compete again in the future,” said Craig Spence, the IPC media director. There was no immediate word from the Olympic Committee, which representes able-bodied athletes.
The Paralympic reaction was a stark contrast with the reaction in the past week of the U.S. National Football League, which in past has been accused of slapping violent athletes on the wrist. It suspended indefinitely football star Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens for punching his wife on the face, kicking her, and then dragging her from an elevator. The outrage among football fans, many of whom are women, led to the Ravens cutting the star running back from its roster. The Ravens has had problems with past stars being accused of involvement in violent acts.
The sporting public, and sponsors, appear less willing to accept players who are accused of violence, even if they manage to escape jail. Rice has escaped jail because his wife refused to testify against him. U.S. law prevents spouses from being forced to testify against each other.
The decision of Judge Thokozile Masipa to interpret all the evidence in such a way as to allow Pistorius, who had a history of recklessness with guns, to fire four bullets into his condo bathroom on Valentine’s Day and kill Pistorius outraged women.
One commenter on Tweeter said she wouldn’t be surprised if Steenkamp was convicted of getting into the way of Oscar’s bullets.“It’s a sad day for women of this country and actually for all of us, to actually be coming up with a judgment like this. For us it’s a miscarriage of judgment. ... We’ll see what happens to the culpable homicide, how many years is the man going to get. But if judgements like this will be going on now and then, our women in the country and our daughters are not safe,” said Jackie Mofokeng, a spokeswoman for the provincial branch of the ruling African National Congress.
She said Steenkamp’s parents, who attended the verdict hearing both days, are “not happy. They are not in a good state. They are not happy their daughter is no more.”
The judge, who accepted the Pistorius claim that he thought an intruder had entered his condo in a gated community, punctured a huge hole in her reasoning when she said Pistorius could have called the police, security guards or “run to the balcony and screamed for help” as he had done after he shot Steenkamp.
Masipa’s reasoning led to the expectation that Pistorius might even avoid any jail time, despite the fact that he had demonstrated his recklessness with guns before, even firing a gun in a restaurant. He could face a maximum 15 year sentence as a first time offender.