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article imageOp-Ed: Sports body says convicted killer Pistorius can run

By Robert Weller     Sep 12, 2014 in Sports
Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius has been a huge money-maker for the Paralympic Games and the group wasted no time in declaring him fit to run despite his conviction for manslaughter in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
From the start the International Paralympic Committee has said it would separate the private life of Pistorius from the court case.
“Oscar’s done a great deal for the Paralympic movement, he’s been an inspiration to millions, but obviously his priority now is to see (what) the judge decides. And then if he wishes to resume his athletics career then we wouldn’t step in his way, we would allow him to compete again in the future,” said Craig Spence, the IPC media director. There was no immediate word from the Olympic Committee, which representes able-bodied athletes.
The Paralympic reaction was a stark contrast with the reaction in the past week of the U.S. National Football League, which in past has been accused of slapping violent athletes on the wrist. It suspended indefinitely football star Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens for punching his wife on the face, kicking her, and then dragging her from an elevator. The outrage among football fans, many of whom are women, led to the Ravens cutting the star running back from its roster. The Ravens has had problems with past stars being accused of involvement in violent acts.
The sporting public, and sponsors, appear less willing to accept players who are accused of violence, even if they manage to escape jail. Rice has escaped jail because his wife refused to testify against him. U.S. law prevents spouses from being forced to testify against each other.
The decision of Judge Thokozile Masipa to interpret all the evidence in such a way as to allow Pistorius, who had a history of recklessness with guns, to fire four bullets into his condo bathroom on Valentine’s Day and kill Steenkamp outraged women.
One commenter on Tweeter said she wouldn’t be surprised if Steenkamp was convicted of getting into the way of Oscar’s bullets, the BBC reported.
The judge drew wide criticism in South African legal circles for appearing to believe that Pistorius needed to have known that Steenkamp was inside the bathroom when he fired. Critics say the law states that if he knew there was anyone side the bathroom then he had committed what in the U.S. likely would be considered murder, though not murder in the first degree with premeditation.
“He shot through the door and I can’t believe that they believe it was an accident,” June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, told NBC News. “I don’t really care what happens to Oscar. It’s not going to change anything because my daughter is never coming back. He’s still living and breathing and she’s gone, you know, forever.”
Jackie Mofokeng, spokeswoman for the ruling African National Congress, said, “It’s a sad day for women of this country and actually for all of us, to actually be coming up with a judgment like this. For us it’s a miscarriage of judgment. ... We’ll see what happens to the culpable homicide, how many years is the man going to get. But if judgements like this will be going on now and then, our women in the country and our daughters are not safe."
The judge, who accepted the Pistorius claim that he thought an intruder had entered his condo in a gated community, punctured a huge hole in her reasoning when she said Pistorius could have called the police, security guards or “run to the balcony and screamed for help” as he had done after he shot Steenkamp.
Masipa’s reasoning led to the expectation that Pistorius might even avoid any jail time, despite the fact that he had demonstrated his recklessness with guns before, even firing a gun in a restaurant. He could face a maximum 15 year sentence as a first time offender.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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