A high school wrestler in the Fresno, Calif., suburb of Clovis has been charged with sexual assault on a teammate for using a move that his coaches taught him and that has been around for decades. The "butt drag" involves grabbing the buttocks of an opponent and sticking a finger in his anus. It is a legal wrestling move...but authorities in Clovis have charged team captain Preston Hill with sexual assault, and Hill has been expelled from school. Some are crying foul on the District Attorney. From the Fresno Bee:
Former Fresno State coach Dennis DeLiddo said the butt drag is a common move used by wrestlers all the time. "I've never heard this move used as being ugly or dirty," he said.
On Friday, DeLiddo was at a wrestling tournament in Las Vegas. During a telephone interview, he said, "a coach just yelled out butt drag" to encourage one of his wrestlers to use it.
District Attorney Elizabeth Egan declined to comment. But Michael Idiart, a former assistant Fresno County district attorney, said he would not have filed criminal charges because wrestlers know that once they get on the mat, they are consenting to pain -- and sometimes embarrassment.
"If this is a legitimate and recognized wrestling move, the DA has no case," he said.
Gene Dermody, a longtime wrestler and wrestling coach, wondered if the alleged "victim" was wearing the proper gear at the time.
With required strong tight material nylon/lycra briefs under a required singlet, there is NO WAY there could be finger penetration. I am a stickler for enforcing at least compression shorts under baggy shorts like they do in MMA if they do not have briefs and singlets. There is a reason for the gear.
I don't know what happened that day. But I do know that calling the cops and ruining the kid's life by charging him with sexual assault goes way too far. I'm totally against any form of hazing, but this isn't hazing. I agree with Fresno Bee columnist Bill McEwen: The alleged victim has gone too far.