ESPN – Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, who in 2001 was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder of his pregnant girlfriend, was released just after 8 a.m. ET on Monday from the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina.
I saw this just now and felt both chilled to the core and very, very old. Rae Carruth, former 1st Round pick of the Carolina Panthers, was arrested, and eventually imprisoned, for his crimes when I was ten. I remember it quite clearly. Why? Because it was my introduction to the fact that pro athletes, the superheroes I looked up to because they made a living playing the same games I did at recess, could be just as profoundly evil and shitty as the next guy. Oklahoma City had happened five years earlier and I remember thinking “makes sense this guy is a lunatic.” But an NFL player? A jubilant, touchdown celebrating, deer-fast adonis of a fan? It just wasn’t supposed to happen.
The details are gory and grim but important. For those who don’t know, Carruth’s career, in its third season in 1999, was not going so well. He had knocked up a hard working recent (two or three years?) college graduate named Cherica Adams and was terrified of running out of money if the end of his career was near. So he paid some friend to take her out. One car pulled up in front of her, making her stop, one pulled up alongside her and shot her, four times. She was eight months pregnant and died a month later. The kid, a son named Chancellor, somehow survived and is now 18 years old, having been raised by Adams’ mother. He has Cerebral Palsy among a list of other maladies from the trauma he experienced.
Now Rae Carruth, a little under 20 years later, is free, walking the streets. I’m sure he is on parole and has constraints and conditions but he’s free, and alive. It just doesn’t seem fair. I’m usually someone who believes everyone deserves a second chance but this just doesn’t seem right. If you think about it how would Carruth have to do, what kind of penance would he have to deliver in order for him to make up for this? He’s only 44, still a young man by most standards, but does he even have enough time to make up for this?