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When high-school basketball star Tony Farmer dropped to the floor in an Ohio courtroom after being sentenced to three years in prison, his case made headlines.

According to Cleveland’s Plain Dealer:

18-year-old Tony Farmer was sentenced to three years in prison by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Pamela for the kidnapping and assault of his ex-girlfriend.

Farmer turned to his attorney after the sentence was announced, collapsed backwards into the arms of a sheriff”s deputy and sank to the floor.

The judge said she will review the sentence after 180 days.

This is a country with a justice system known for locking up black men in prison and demolishing the key, so the immediate response in the Black community to Farmer’s sentence was expected. The same people who run around wearing “Free [insert known criminal]” t-shirts are indistinguishably mixed in with the people who are rightfully skeptical of a untrustworthy legal system. Too often black men will be convicted and harshly sentenced with little regard for the severity of the crime or even innocence.

For Farmer, however, this is not the case. Bedford Heights apartment complex has him on surveillance camera hitting, punching, and kicking his cowering girlfriend. After being arrested back in April, he posted ten-thousand dollars bond, got out of jail and then began threatening her saying he should have done more.

Therefore, though this video of his reaction to his sentencing in the courtroom is hard to watch:




That’s why I was absolutely stunned when I read about his ex-girlfriend’s reaction at his sentencing.

In an odd twist, among those in the gallery sobbing in reaction to the judge’s decision was the victim herself, Farmer’s ex-girlfriend Andrea Lane. Even though the two remain separated since Farmer attacked Lane last April after she didn’t want to reconcile their relationship, Lane had previously asked Judge Pamela Barker not to put Farmer in prison.

In that earlier testimony, she said “I don’t know what was wrong with him that day. I know he was a good person. I hope he still is. He just really needs help.”

Watching her crying about him “needing help”, reminded me of Rihanna’s interview with Oprah when she was crying and talking about Chris Brown needed help.

Look ladies, we know these guys need help. That’s evident in the fact that they abuse women. However, that is not a reason to be sorrier than he is for what he did. Him “needing help” does not excuse his actions or the consequences for those actions. Abusive men put women in caskets and who’s crying then? Domestic violence is serious and these victims who shed real tears over their abusers also need help.

It’s sad to see a man’s life ruined, but it is a lot less sad when that man has ruined his own life. Let’s not forget who’s the victim in this situation. Watching Rihanna and then watching Andrea Lane, both with tear-soaked faces as they speak from a place of sorrow for their abusive ex-boyfriends makes me wonder what in the world we are teaching our daughters.

People love their athletes. I get that. The “#FreeTony” and “#FreeTonyFarmer” hashtags on Twitter are pretty telling as is the continued lack of remorse that’s exhibited in his tweets. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten to a place in society where we don’t hold our athletes or entertainers responsible for their actions simply because they have “promise” and “talent”. That promise and talent however is not more important than the life of the women they abuse.

When a 6-foot-7, 220 pound man is punching a girl who is crying out in pain on the floor, who cares about his potential basketball career? Who cares that he may have gone to the NBA? He showed no regard for his own future and deserved every minute of the prison time he is getting. Watching the video, it’s clear that wasn’t the first time he’d beat this girl up. The way she is running away from him shows that he has hit her before. She knows it. His mom, who was also crying in the courtroom, likely knows it too. This is a high-schooler. Unchecked, imagine what he would have turned into in college where they really throw things under the rug?

Case-in-point Storm Klein, the 240-pound Ohio State linebacker that was recently reinstated to the famed football team after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. Initially, Klein was dropped from the team after being arrested for domestic violence assault. He allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend (and child’s mother) by the forearms and threw her against the front door. There were photos of her injuries, but recently she mysteriously dropped the charges.

I don’t know Storm Klein’s babymama and I don’t know Andrea Lane, but I do know that women can face unfair accusations of “ruining a man’s life” when they’ve done no such thing. Andrea is probably being unfairly vilified in her community right now and I wouldn’t put it past anyone at Ohio State to have passed a check (or threat) to Storm Klein’s ex to get her to drop the charges. It’s really sad.

Andrea is right, Tony does need help and they can #FreeTonyFarmer after he serves his time for what he did.

What do you think about the Tony Farmer situation? Do you think women are conditioned to excuse violence if the man is a sports player or entertainer?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink 

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