The Seattle Times has unearthed some new details about the sleazy past of former UW basketball player and alleged pimp Venoy Overton. The paper of record reported Saturday that in August 2009, when Overton was a sophomore at UW, he was investigated by Seattle police for drunkenly propositioning his 15-year-old cousin via text message. The girl's mother complained, but Overton was not arrested and prosecutors declined to file charges, apparently buying the baller's excuse that his cousin had the same name as another girl he had on booty-call speed dial. But judging by the photo of Overton the Times chose to accompany their story, Overton was caught red-handed.
Venoy Overton and his gold grill.
If you haven't been paying attention, Overton was arrested last week on charges that he pimped out his 18-year-old girlfriend, forcing the woman to walk a stretch of Pacific Highway South in Kent, sell herself for $200 a pop, and give him half the proceeds. The woman told detectives that Overton promised he would "pay her back tenfold" when he reached the NBA.
Even before he was facing a felony conviction, Overton's chances of making it as a professional were slimmer than Manute Bol. While three of his teammates at Washington--Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning--stand a very good chance of getting picked in the upcoming NBA draft, Overton is a one-dimensional player. He is known for tenacious, in-your-face defense (his nickname was "The Pest"), but he struggles to sink jump shots consistently. Overton's reputation as an aggressive defender preceded him, and officials were quick to book him for ticky-tacky fouls. Overton spent a lot of time making the "Who me? No way!?" face patented by the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, and stewing on the bench during his college career.
As a result, there's now a trove of photos available that make it appear as though Overton was accused of sexual assault and pimping mid-game. Here, for instance, is the image that accompanied the story about the recent prostitution case on the Times' UW Men's Basketball blog:
SeattlePI.com chose these two timely on-court reaction shots to illustrate their coverage of the pimping arrest:
Yahoo's Rivals.com site picked this winner:
And in this pic, used by MyNorthwest.com back in March when Washington coach Lorenzo Romar suspended Overton for the duration of the Pac-10 tournament after he was charged with providing alcohol to a minor, it appears as though the ref might have just given Overton a technical foul for statutory rape:
There's nothing patently wrong with the suggestive on-court photos (heck, we used one ourselves when we published the details of the "orgy party" police report), but it's an interesting case of the media framing a story. The evidence against him in the most recent incident appears quite damning, but Overton hasn't been convicted of anything. And yet, for the second time in less than a year, he's already been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion.