Basketball star Derrick Rose has been accused of sexual misconduct toward a former girlfriend, whose lawsuit contends that — among other things — Rose sexually assaulted her two years ago. It’s common for wealthy athletes and entertainers to be hit with this type of suit — and the most common defense is that the accuser is seeking an unwarranted payday. But in the wake of revelations about comedian Bill Cosby’s effective decades-long denial of similar accusations, the suit against Rose comes in a political and social environment newly receptive to accusers’ testimony.
That’s why it was strange to hear Derrick Rose’s lawyer use the exact same language as Bill Cosby’s lawyer to describe the accusations. Lawyer Lisa Cohen, who represents Rose, said: “We have complete confidence that the case will be dismissed and that Mr. Rose will be vindicated. This lawsuit is outrageous.” In November of last year Cosby lawyer Marty Singer called an accusation against his client “an outrageous defamatory lie.” Since much of the damage to very public clients like Rose, whatever their culpability, is often done in the court of public opinion, it’s surprising to hear Rose’s lawyer repeat the Cosby defense almost exactly. There are plenty of synonyms for “outrageous.” Choosing one Bill Cosby’s lawyer didn’t use would be a smart move for Rose’s defense.