Derrick Rose didn’t hide from the allegations of sexual assault that have been levied on him in a civil suit from a former acquaintance, and the Bulls franchise offered him full support as the 2015-16 season kicks off.
Rose was going to be center stage no matter the circumstance, but given the nature of what’s been alleged, it put more of a spotlight on the guard who’ll turn 27 in less than a week.
“I think you all saw everything that was put out,” said Rose, referring to the report put out by TMZ on Aug. 26 concerning the sexual assault suit. “I will be proven innocent, but at the same time it hasn’t affected anything. It’s not true.”
Rose issued two strong statements in the day after the lawsuit but faced the media for the first time since on Media Day, which took place at the Advocate Center Monday afternoon. While he wouldn’t address specifics—and no one would expect him to given the upcoming litigation—Rose made it appear as if it were someone looking to take a shot at him because of his name and fame.
“I take it as motivation. I feel like the devil is just working,” Rose said. “I feel like I’m on the right track as far as where I want to be at in my life, and the direction I want to go. And I feel like that when you’re that focused people just try and take you down, so I’m very confident that I will be proven innocent.’’
Bulls general manager Gar Forman mentioned Rose’s ongoing situation, and neither anticipated he’ll miss any time due to it. But until it goes through the legal process, a lot of it is merely conjecture.
“In regard to Derrick's situation, we understand that there's a process he'll need to go through. But Derrick's part of our family. He's got our full support,” Forman said. “I know he's got the full support of all his teammates, too. Like I talked about earlier, he's in a really good place physically and mentally. I think his focus, just like his teammates' focus, is on getting started tomorrow and getting preseason camp started and just having a really good, productive season.”
It’s clear Rose feels a level of regret from even being in the situation, regardless of the motives. Because of a similar allegation surrounding Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, there’s a heightened sense of awareness concerning how athletes handle themselves behind closed doors.
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And it should be noted Rose's situation is a civil suit while Kane's is being treated as a potential crime.
“I mean you have to be very careful. I think anybody in my position, my case I think it scared everybody in the league probably,” Rose said. “If not, I hope it got everybody’s attention. The only thing you can do now is just learn from it. A person in your life, you got them in your life for a few good reasons, more than one, so I think that everybody in the league should just learn from my mistakes.”
But when asked if he should change how he conducts himself or who he places himself around, Rose got on the defensive, issuing another strong statement concerning the matter.
“I wouldn’t say that. The story was false,” Rose said. “I don’t think I have to alter anything. I live my life the way I live my life. I live in the moment, and I enjoy life. I can’t let that one incident that’s not true affect the way that I live, and I’m not going to let it. I love my life, actually, so I can’t complain about anything. I just got to take this, use it as fuel, and the season is around the corner.”