Nick Cousins gave an interview with Randy Miller that was posted late last night. There's some good in there, but unfortunately, it is mostly bad. The article is in a direct Q&A format, so Cousins's quotes are not framed by Randy Miller's numbskullery in any way. There's more to the interview outside of the sexual assault case, including questions that make you think Randy Miller knows absolutely nothing about the game of hockey, but I am simply going to highlight the parts where Miller and Cousins discuss the sexual assault case. Bold emphasis mine.
After a conversation surrounding
Q: Those were really serious charges.
A: I'm not that type of person to do that to a woman. I respect the opposite sex. I'd never put myself in a (sexual assault) situation because I know the consequences.
This is good. Nick Cousins understands the magnitude and severity of sexual assault and claims he would never put himself in such a situation where so much could go wrong.
Q: You must be relieved that you can concentrate on hockey now?
A: Yeah. I'll say this: I'm happy the charges are dropped now and over with, and finally I get to move on from that, learn from that situation and obviously not put myself in those kinds of situations in the future.
This is good and bad. It's good because he is saying he wants to learn from it and not put himself in "those kinds of situations in the future," but it's also bad, because he basically said before he would never do such a thing, and here, he sort of tacitly admits that he put himself in a situation he should have known he should not have been in to begin with. It should not take a woman accusing you of sexual assault to realize putting yourself in a position where you can be accused of sexual assault is never a situation you want to be in. For what it's worth, the rest of the article reads like a tacit admission of wrongdoing.
Q: It's made you mature a lot?
A: Definitely. You can't put yourself in those situations, right? You have to act professional and make the right choices. In the long run, I think it's going to make me a better person.
If it truly made him a better person, he would become much more pro-active in promoting the causes of sexual assault victims. It matters little to me how well or poorly he succeeds on the ice or even if he scores the overtime winning goal for the Flyers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, if he can never truly make amends for his unacceptable behavior that night, then I will never truly like him, and I would hope other rationally inclined people feel the same way.
Q: How tough was it to tell your parents what happened?
A: It's almost embarrassing for them, so that's probably where I felt the worst. You know, it's sort of embarrassing myself, the Soo Greyhounds, the Flyers and even my family the most. They had to go to work the next day. I said that to my brother. They had to continue on with their lives.
Oy ve. Instead of feeling guilty or apologetic or sorry to the woman who got sexually assaulted, he instead feels embarrassment. That's not good at all. It indicates someone who is very self-centered, and not someone at all who is looking out for the betterment of others around him. If Cousins wants to have people change his opinion of him, he is going to have to do much better than claim the part of this that made him feel the worst was the embarrassment he felt for his family. Shouldn't he express he regret he contributed in hurting another human being in such a drastic way?
Q: You're one of the Flyers top prospects. Were you fearful that you'd blown your shot at an NHL career?
A: Oh yeah, oh yeah! I remember when the season started, the first game our team scored six goals and we won in overtime and I had no points. I went home after the game. My parents drove out that weekend. I was losing my mind and thinking, 'Did I just screw this all up? Am I ever going to go back to the player I was?' I put a lot of pressure on myself then. I finally started getting going then I just kind of grew up from there. And then that (criminal charges) situation started to clear up and things started to look a little better. That kind of showed in my play, as well. That was tough when there was that much more pressure on myself. The Flyers wanted me to do well. My lawyer told me to go out there and lead the league in scoring to try to make myself look good.
First of all, what an awful question. Secondly, once again, Nick Cousins appears only concerned about how this incident impacts himself, his career, and his life. The question does not do him any favors, but Cousins can backtrack and also state his concern for the well-being of the woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted. He never does. Cousins is all about how this incident affected him and his play on the ice, which really, is one of the least important things here.
Q: Getting back to the arrest, were you in a holding cell for awhile? What was going through your mind?
A: Yeah, I went inside the holding cell for three or four hours. That was probably the worst. I had no cell phone, no one to talk to. I had to just sit there by myself and realize what was happening, realize what could happen. So many thoughts were going through my mind as to what's going to happen. It was tough emotionally.
Nick Cousins is given a better question where he can state his regrets for his actions, and yet again, his regrets and recollections all center on being sorry for himself, not the person who was used, abused, and taken advantage of in a cruel, cruel way.
Q: Was your mindset, "I'm going to be proven innocent?" Were you worried that the legal system doesn't always work? This had to be pretty scary.
A: A couple weeks after it happened, (Flyers director of player personnel) Ian Laperriere came up to Soo and watched me play a couple games. We went out for dinner after and just talked what's going through my head and how I feel. He was telling me to keep my head and stay strong and keep playing the way I've been playing. I appreciated that from him. He couldn't have helped me more along the way. He's been a big influence on me.
Given Laperriere's past remarks on the situation before he got called out, I'm not convinced Nick Cousins really got the advice he needed to receive here. As previously documented here, Ian Laperriere's initial stance on the situation was that of an unfortunately apologetic one towards Cousins.
Q: Did you get a phone call right away from Paul Holmgren to tell you the Flyers would stick by you and to just go through the legal process?
A: Yeah, he called me and that's exactly what he said.
Q: That had to be an incredible relief?
A: Yeah. It was nice to hear from him and kind of hear what he had to say. I appreciate that from him and from the Flyers organization. They've been behind me 100 percent ever since this happened and I can't thank them enough. They've been awesome.
Way to take a hardline stance against sexual assault, guys. Go team.
Q: Did you have to deal with any fan abuse this season?
A: A little bit on the away side, but everyone in the Soo where I play have been nothing but awesome. The mail I got was fan mail where they just wanted me to sign some stuff and they said, "Good luck." It's been good, but it's still been tough. My teammates were good, too. Even when going up to Adirondack, no one really asked me about it. The guys knew what kind of situation that I was in and that as hockey players we're always under the microscope.
This is a large reflection of society's stance on sexual assault, and not a particularly good one. Instead of standing behind the person accusing Cousins of sexual assault, people much to quick to support Cousins and blame the victim "as hockey players we're always under the microscope." As true as that may or may not be, you can always do something to get yourself out of an awful situation. And from all reports and records, there is absolutely no indication that Cousins was deserving of the support he got. Only 9 out of every 100 people accused of sexual assault get prosecuted, according to RAINN. That the charges were dropped alone should not lead to the logical jump said person being charged is completely innocent of any wrong-doing and thus worthy of such support. Such a person should at the very least be looked skeptically upon and criticized, not supported as unconditionally as Cousins claims he was supported by teammates. If you are of a good heart and think supporting a person like Cousins is an isolated incident, I advise you to check out some of the support the rapists were given in the Steubenville incident. It is, in a word, horrifying.
Please keep replies to intelligent discussions and interpretations of the interview, which can be read in full here. Thank you!