Lawrence Taylor’s recklessness could finally land him in prison

Lawrence Taylor’s recklessness finally has caught up with him.

Lawrence Taylor could end up spending as many as four years in prison.
Lawrence Taylor could end up spending as many as four years in prison.

Throughout and after his football career, Taylor periodically found trouble. He never quite faced any real consequences, possibly due to the things he could do — and did — on a football field.

Now, more than 17 years after he left a football field for the last time, Taylor finds himself facing real prison time for an alleged crime as to which there are precious few defenses. Every state has selected an age below which no person — male or female — legally may consent to sexual relations with someone over a certain age. If sex happens, even if there is consent or (as in the case of Mary Kay LeTourneau) love or (as in this case) cash payment, a violation of the law has occurred.

And it doesn’t matter if the defendant didn’t know the person’s true age.

Is it fair? Fairness doesn’t matter. If the person looks a lot older than he or she is, the other, older person could soon be in prison.

Considering Taylor’s history, it’s surprising that he hasn’t previously found himself in this situation. He has utilized anecdotes of his escapades with prostitutes to sell his autobiography, including tales of ordering ladies of the evening for an opponent, in the hopes of wearing the guy out the night before a key game — something Taylor learned after an opponent put him in a similar predicament, which Taylor welcomed. He also spoke with bizarre pride regarding the fact that he once showed up for a team meeting wearing handcuffs that had been applied to him by not one but two women who were trying out new gadgets.

Surely, Taylor realizes that the time for laughing and boasting and bragging has ended. He could spend up to four years in prison. And even though his lawyer believes that Taylor will eventually plead guilty to a misdemeanor, the downside to fame and celebrity is that when they screw something up in spectacular fashion, that fame and celebrity often triggers an aggressive prosecution. The ensuing media coverage will send a powerful message to anyone who may be inclined to dial up a prostitute that he (or, technically, she) should worry about the very real possibility that the person who shows up at the door will be too young to lawfully consent.

Thus, Taylor now needs to worry about a prosecutor seeking to throw the book at him, in the same way that another former Giant, Plaxico Burress, ended up going away for two years on a charge that routinely results in probation or, at most, minimal jail time.

In announcing last month that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wouldn’t be charged with rape, prosecutor Fred Bright seemed almost disappointed by the fact that he wouldn’t get a chance to scare straight any man who may be inclined to ply a woman with drinks and then try to take advantage of her. In this case, the prosecutor has been handed a gift-wrapped conviction, an opportunity to deter similar conduct from coast to coast, and a chance to have his or her name uttered by every news outlet in the country on multiple occasions.

There’s also a curious connection between Roethlisberger’s case and the entanglement in which L.T. now finds himself. Many reacted to news of Big Ben’s alleged habit of trolling VIP rooms for sexual partners by wondering why he and other rich and famous types don’t simply use prostitutes instead. As the saying goes, celebrities don’t pay women for sex; they pay them to leave.

Taylor’s case shows that even that approach can lead to prison, too, if unbeknownst to the customer the woman is still a girl. Though some may think the chances of this happening are remote, it happened to Taylor. And it’s just one of the bad things that can happen when someone’s hobbies include patronizing the world’s oldest profession.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

Lawrence Taylor’s recklessness finally has caught up with him.

Lawrence Taylor could end up spending as many as four years in prison.
Lawrence Taylor could end up spending as many as four years in prison.

Throughout and after his football career, Taylor periodically found trouble. He never quite faced any real consequences, possibly due to the things he could do — and did — on a football field.

Now, more than 17 years after he left a football field for the last time, Taylor finds himself facing real prison time for an alleged crime as to which there are precious few defenses. Every state has selected an age below which no person — male or female — legally may consent to sexual relations with someone over a certain age. If sex happens, even if there is consent or (as in the case of Mary Kay LeTourneau) love or (as in this case) cash payment, a violation of the law has occurred.

And it doesn’t matter if the defendant didn’t know the person’s true age.

Is it fair? Fairness doesn’t matter. If the person looks a lot older than he or she is, the other, older person could soon be in prison.

Considering Taylor’s history, it’s surprising that he hasn’t previously found himself in this situation. He has utilized anecdotes of his escapades with prostitutes to sell his autobiography, including tales of ordering ladies of the evening for an opponent, in the hopes of wearing the guy out the night before a key game — something Taylor learned after an opponent put him in a similar predicament, which Taylor welcomed. He also spoke with bizarre pride regarding the fact that he once showed up for a team meeting wearing handcuffs that had been applied to him by not one but two women who were trying out new gadgets.

Surely, Taylor realizes that the time for laughing and boasting and bragging has ended. He could spend up to four years in prison. And even though his lawyer believes that Taylor will eventually plead guilty to a misdemeanor, the downside to fame and celebrity is that when they screw something up in spectacular fashion, that fame and celebrity often triggers an aggressive prosecution. The ensuing media coverage will send a powerful message to anyone who may be inclined to dial up a prostitute that he (or, technically, she) should worry about the very real possibility that the person who shows up at the door will be too young to lawfully consent.

Thus, Taylor now needs to worry about a prosecutor seeking to throw the book at him, in the same way that another former Giant, Plaxico Burress, ended up going away for two years on a charge that routinely results in probation or, at most, minimal jail time.

In announcing last month that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wouldn’t be charged with rape, prosecutor Fred Bright seemed almost disappointed by the fact that he wouldn’t get a chance to scare straight any man who may be inclined to ply a woman with drinks and then try to take advantage of her. In this case, the prosecutor has been handed a gift-wrapped conviction, an opportunity to deter similar conduct from coast to coast, and a chance to have his or her name uttered by every news outlet in the country on multiple occasions.

There’s also a curious connection between Roethlisberger’s case and the entanglement in which L.T. now finds himself. Many reacted to news of Big Ben’s alleged habit of trolling VIP rooms for sexual partners by wondering why he and other rich and famous types don’t simply use prostitutes instead. As the saying goes, celebrities don’t pay women for sex; they pay them to leave.

Taylor’s case shows that even that approach can lead to prison, too, if unbeknownst to the customer the woman is still a girl. Though some may think the chances of this happening are remote, it happened to Taylor. And it’s just one of the bad things that can happen when someone’s hobbies include patronizing the world’s oldest profession.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

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