Former Ensworth High School and Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey will likely spend the next 15 years in prison.
Batey will likely be assigned to a state prison that holds the worst of the worst criminals. There are those who are murderers, rapists, drug dealers and others considered by society as the scum of the earth.
He will be a target for other inmates, who will taunt him as “fresh meat’’ the first day he enters his new prison.
Batey will be physically, mentally challenged and taunted. It will be nothing like he experienced in the private high school consisting of the cream of the crop student body, athletic teams and sons and daughters of Nashville’s elite society.
He won’t have to decide what he will wear every day. There will be no Ralph Lauren Polo’s, no designer jeans, no latest trend with the crowd Batey used to run with.
Batey will wear prison issue shirts and pants. He will be subjected to strip searches. He will endure lock downs. He will start his days just like every other inmate. He will eat food he wouldn’t dare eat when he was free and on scholarship at Vanderbilt.
Prison officers will tell Batey when he will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. You think hospital food is bad? He won’t be asked how he wants his filet mignon cooked. He won’t be asked what ingredients he wants in his omelet. He’ll learn to love powdered eggs. He won’t have another choice.
I thought Judge Monte Watkins fell short of giving Batey enough time to match the crime. Batey claimed he was drunk and blacked out. I would think he had to have some awareness to sexually rape the victim, urinate on her naked body and blame her family tree for raping and murdering blacks hundreds of years ago.
If Watkins had a daughter assaulted like the Vanderbilt coed was, I believe his sentence would have been much tougher. He saw the video evidence. He listened to what Batey said and physically did to ruin this woman’s life.
According to someone who did see the video, Batey said after he urinated on her naked, unconscious body, “That’s for 400 years of slavery you b—- (rhymes with witch.)
She seems mentally strong to have endured not one, but two trials against Batey and former Vandy teammate Brandon Vandenburg. The first trial ended in a mistrial. Vandenburg will be sentenced next month. Two other former Vanderbilt teammates, Brandon Banks and Jaborian “Tip’’ McKenzie have yet to face a trial.
Even on the lower end of incarceration, Batey’s world will change in so many ways.
A local attorney told me Batey will serve the full 15 years. This is an attorney who has tried numerous felony cases. He said the only way Batey will be eligible for an early out, is if he is a model prisoner for 12½ years. That is highly doubtful.
Batey will be recruited in prison. It’s nothing like when he was recruited by former coach James Franklin to play football at Vanderbilt. Now prison gangs will recruit him. They will consist of African-Americans, Hispanics, white skinheads, white supremacists and bikers. Needless to say there are some bad boys behind bars.
Batey will be challenged to fights. He will have to watch his back in the showers and on the basketball courts when he is eligible to leave his cell.
It’s not a pretty picture.
If Batey can survive the prison lifestyle, he will have a chance to turn his life around. He will need a lot of support, which he had in the courtroom during his trial.
Batey had a golden opportunity to get a top rate college education, one he could use to better himself and enable him to help others.
He blew it big time. Now he faces a challenge that will test his character to the maximum.
Cory Batey did the crime. Now he will do the time.
It will be the longest time of his life.
Joe Biddle is a sports columnist for wkrn.com; His columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WKRN-TV or its management.You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.