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Violent profession no license to hurt

Even half a world away, the Mike Tyson verdict is a jawbreaker. Athletes too often are guilty of morality breakdowns and overwhelmingly sure they'll get away with it.

No more, let's hope.

A jury in Indianapolis believed Tyson's accuser. Because the former heavyweight boxing champion bullied an unwilling woman into despicable acts, prison is where he belongs.

So pitiful has Tyson's history been with women that $5,000-a-day defense lawyer Vincent Fuller suggested his muscular client is such a womanizing pig that the former Miss Black America contestant should have been wary.

Did we once call Tyson champ?

Tyson's ignorance and small-mindedness also were among Fuller's ploys. The boxer, so weakly educated, was said to have been victimized by the well-schooled young woman from Rhode Island.

Pleeeeeeze!

Suppose the Indianapolis jury had voted the other way. I shudder. Suppose it had been an 11-1 vote, and a hung jury, and eventually Tyson would wiggle free. Suppose he wins an appeal. What kind of harpooning signal might that send to women, and to men?

Thank heaven for the Indianapolis jury.

Not every athlete can be a hero, or classy, or sophisticated, or highly educated, but society always has the right to demand that jocks be human beings.

After this courtroom bout, everybody knows more about Tyson. It's all bad news. His own allies testified as to how crude, lewd and disgusting "Pig-Iron Mike" is as a person.

Cheers for today's heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, an admirable man who has declined to grant Tyson a multimillion-dollar fight while the rape case is being appealed.

If boxing had more Holyfields, and zero Tysons, it'd be a better game. Animalism, to a point, is demanded within a boxing ring, but, sadly, Mike carries a cave-man attitude into dealings with women.

Actress Robin Givens, ex-wife of Tyson, was widely characterized as a slick, manipulative gold digger. She was massively disbelieved upon describing the boxer as a bullish, unreasonable, childish and crude husband. Maybe now, when she talks again of Tyson, there will be a more sympathetic ear.

Too many athletes think they carry some sort of special license to put their sex drive into high gear when tempted by a woman. Teasing is frequently a two-way game, but the more physically powerful a person, the more restraint is demanded. Mike Tyson has never worried about being thrown into the sack by some female attacker.

When the guilty-times-three Tyson bulletin came from Indiana, it was 5 a.m. Tuesday here in the French Alps _ long before I would rise to prepare for a day of writing about Olympic figure skating.

I'd rather not be commenting on another athlete gone wrong. Boxing, more than any game, needs no further sad chapters. But let the Hoosiers handle this case, both efficiently and fairly. Iron Mike should be kept away from society for a while, behind a locked door.

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