Of course, that is not the story that you would have heard if you were simply watching television news. If you were hearing about the trial at CNN, you probably heard the story spun to focus on how tragic this verdict is for the football players, as though they were the victims.
Sadly, this outcome is traditionally expected. It is a product of our society's overly lenient attitude towards instances of sexual assault, and is referred to in more egalitarian circles as rape culture. Even in this highly publicized case, people are showing greater tendencies to sympathize with the boys than they are the victim. Some even disparage the victim. This is something that is commonplace with most cases of sexual assault - there is often undue blame put on the victim, and in most cases of rape the assaulter can come away with a 'not guilty' verdict.
Hilariously, this scarily relevant Onion video came out years ago.
Except, there's a slight difference this time around. The Internet has played its hand in this particular case.
When this case first began gaining attention, it attracted protests from online bloggers and activists. Any sympathy towards the rapists could be subverted by pointing at the substantial amounts of evidence circulating online about their case. And as for the victim-blaming that is currently going on, everything that more ignorant people are saying about the case is being recorded for posterity. You can be certain that there are people fighting against the distorted perceptions of rape culture, and the Internet makes their voices louder than ever.
It demonstrates a reason to be optimistic: The digital age is the greatest time to be on the right side of equality and social progress.