According to a post on Deadspin on Friday, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, 24, may or may not have had a relationship with a 17-year old girl. The girl, who was referred to solely as E.K., reportedly sent photos to Deadspin that were taken from Sanchez’s bedroom after she spent the night with him. The extent of the relationship isn’t known at this point; Deadspin merely posted a letter they received from the girl’s lawyer, told its readers that there was more to the story, then told them to wait until Tuesday.
The age of consent in New York is 17, although it’s unclear where the relationship (if there was one) took place.
If, indeed, Sanchez did have a romantic relationship with a girl, it wouldn’t be the first time a famous person has wooed someone much younger. As Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock pointed out, Kobe Bryant met his wife when she was still 17 years old. Of course, Bryant, then 21, met his wife on the set of a video shoot for his rap album, and her mother chaperoned their first date.
The older guys-younger women dynamic also extends beyond the sports world. A 38-year-old Jerry Seinfeld dated 17-year-old Shoshanna Lonstein, a relationship that lasted four years.
Neither of these relationships were sinister, at least from what we can tell, and the details of Sanchez’s relationship (or if there even was one) with “E.K.” are still unclear.
This is not Sanchez’s first female-related controversy, but it will likely be the most publicized. Though many people seem to have forgotten, Sanchez was arrested (but not charged) for sexual assault when he was a 19-year-old backup at USC.
As of now, the lawyer for the young woman who was cited in the Deadspin article has said, “E.K. has not engaged in any improper conduct, has not committed any crime, and has not engaged in any conduct of legitimate concern to the public.”