It’s been a tough stretch for Bama fan Brian Downing:
First, there was the whole genitals thing, then video of the assault made it’s way around the entire globe. There’s nothing like having your sexual assault caught on video. Next, he became subject of a man hunt, but lucky him, his “second cousin” is Russell County Alabama sheriff Heath Taylor:
Although he’d heard about the video — which has created a firestorm on the Internet — for a couple days, Taylor said he watched it Thursday morning at the prompting of other people who suggested the University of Alabama fan was his relative. The man in the video indeed appeared to be Downing, he said.
“So then I went out there and looked at it and was, like, you have to be kidding me,” Taylor said. At that point, he called Downing’s father and told him to bring his son to the sheriff’s office.
Downing and a lawyer came in, but left after the NOPD detective instructed Taylor that his cousin should come to New Orleans. Taylor said he did not question Downing, nor did any of his deputies.
Along the way Downing has been able to experience nation-wide mocking and ridicule, as well as the realization that he basically exposed his genitalia to the entire world.
Next, Downing was fired from his job at Hibbett’s, a regional sporting goods store:
“We felt comfortable to terminate employment of the person in the video,” Myers said. “We don’t support or condone these activities and it is certainly nothing we are about.”
I guess that activity was covered in the employee handbook.
After being fired, Downing received a return trip to New Orleans, this time with accommodations courtesy of the New Orleans police department. He’s also likely to face some sort of charges, the worst of which could include being charged with some sort of sex crime.
There’s absolutely no defense for Downing’s actions other than to say he was a stupid drunk. And through Downing’s stupid actions, I’m reminded of many of the stupid, stupid things I’ve done. As I look back on my life, I can see that in many of those stupid incidents I created, God showed me much, much mercy. So, based on that, while I can’t in any way defend what he did, it’s also difficult for me to say hang him. Hopefully, the judicial system will operate in such a way as to punish and teach Mr. Downing without being excessive. And hopefully, Mr. Downing will learn his lesson.