Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault today in a deal struck with prosecutors that allowed him to dodge a possible jail sentence of five years. He was instead sentenced to five years probation, 180 days of community service and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling for beating his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. The judge also issued a stay-away order: For the next five years, he and Rihanna are to stay 50 yards away from each other and avoid any other kind of contact -- via e-mail, text, friends, you name it.
Rihanna did make her much-anticipated appearance in court today, only to offer a simple "thank you" to the judge. Yep, that's all, folks! We won't be privy to her dramatic, tearful account of the attack, because ... it's ... none of our business. Brown admitted to felony assault and that's all the public, and his fans, really need to know. He did it, he's guilty, the end.
Who am I kidding? Of course it isn't really over! For the next year or so, there will be one question asked of both stars, time and again: What happened that night? Neither of them will be able to escape it until they give us the literal blow-by-blow that we feel so entitled to, and chances are we will get it, because their careers just might depend on it. That actually doesn't bother me as much as my suspicion that the hunger to know comes from a need to make sense of it, and a disbelief that the charming young prince of R&B could do such a thing without being provoked.
We have plenty to learn all right, but not from this case.