Is it Strange?
So not only am I going to get away from the normal sports talk, but I’m going to break one of my rules. Never talk politics, religion or personal beliefs with anyone you don’t know well. I’m sure I’m going to regret this decision, but something’s been bothering me this week.
Many athletes have found social media as a way to control conversation rather than having their messages filtered by reporters, bloggers or agents. If an athlete wants to tell something to the world, they can do it themselves through sites like Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes this gets them in trouble.
Several athletes have responded to the U.S. killing Osama bin Laden last week. Some left comments for which they have had to clarify after backlash by social media followers. Some athletes have become defiant about their tweets, and others have expressed thoughts their employers had to quickly distance themselves from.
Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall got in some hot water last week when he went viral on the web with this statement (along with others) on his Twitter account: “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side.” His comments have been receiving criticism and he’s had to respond numerous times to try to explain what he meant.
While I’m not going to jump on board with all of Mendenhall’s comments, I am going to agree with what I believe he meant.
I watched the news the morning following the announcement of bin Laden’s death and I have to admit as happy as I was to hear we had found him, I was kind of disturbed by the reaction I saw on the news of his death. There were people singing in the streets, waving American flags and even throwing parties celebrating the death of bin Laden. I understand the relief of people and am glad that justice was finally served after 10 long years. I’m
not at all saying that he wasn’t a terrible person, he was. But celebrating the death of anyone publicly (no matter how terrible the person) seems a little strange to me.
When I turned on the radio on my way to work, my regular sports talk had been replaced by talk of bin Laden’s death. I heard the excitement in every caller’s voice that we killed him and their desire to see his bloody corpse. This was followed by reports of people sharing text messages with each other containing gruesome Photoshopped versions of bin Laden with gunshots in his head and Lady Liberty holding bin Laden’s severed head in her hand reading some patriotic phrase.
I am happy the world is without a sick individual like bin Laden who caused so many innocent deaths. And, I’m for anything that gets our courageous troops back to safety. However, I don’t think the killing of one man will stop thousands or millions of other nut jobs from killing innocent people.
I was as angry and as disturbed by the events of September 11th as anyone. If someone killed someone close to me, of course I would be angry and I would want to see justice. And if that person was then murdered by someone else, I would be glad they weren’t here anymore to kill anyone else, but I wouldn’t send pictures of that person with their head blown away to all of my friends.
Is that strange?