Coming up to the Superbowl, having waited all year for the New England Patriots to explode, we were finally treated to an incident involving Randy Moss - arguably the most talented receiver in the game today. Allegedly, he did something in a night club and was slapped with a restraining order. Oh Joy, the message boards lit up, the Evil Empire that is New England were now not only a bunch of cheats but also a bunch of criminals. Surely Goodell should increase the punishment for this team.
About two weeks ago the story appeared that this restraining order was being dropped:
is one place this was reported. Now admittedly the Pats lost and we feasted on their misery and the football season has ended, but there was so little made of this (presumably substanceless) accusation that someone could be excused for thinking he is still in trouble. What I fail to understand is why we are so quick to knock down the very people we try and build up.
In this case, the facts are fairly straightforward - Randy Moss is a record breaking receiver, he has a history of being a me-first player with some legal issues. He appears to be trying to straighten out his image and we shall see how much further this goes next season now he has the contract he deserves.
We love our sports figures (and for sports, we could mean actors, singers and even politicians) and willing chuck our adoration or our dollars at them watching movies, buying shirts or in many other ways. We embrace them, ignore their flaws if they are on "our" team, but happily push them under a bus when they don't live up to the standards we have set them. I think we feel that as we have created these stars we have every right to tear them down, but there is a huge part that we miss. I have never met Randy Moss, Mel Gibson, Eliot Spitzer or Britney Spears but I am certain that they sacrificed a lot to get themselves into a position where they could achieve (in some eyes) greatness. It's not relevant whether I personally feel they are great, the general public have raised them to heights in their chosen profession. But once there, we are ready to take great delight in their subsequent fall and leap on every perceived flaw that is exposed.
Now don't get me wrong, all four of these people have made mistakes - some repeatedly, some only once (that we know about), and they have been villified in the media quite rightly. However, in the world of instant communication and 24 hour news, every little snippet about these celebrities is thrown into the spotlight and we have the opportunity to comment and from opinions before really getting a hard look at the evidence. Why should we let a few facts cloud us from our opinion? We built the monster, we should be able to destroy it.
In Randy Moss' case, at least this time, we should have waited before assuming his guilt. Hopefully next time I read a report about him doing something "wrong" my first thought will be "Is this true?" rather than "There, I told you so!"