Don’t wait for facts to mess up your opinion!

dolphinsTwo catchphrases that should not be used together:  Ignorance is bliss.  Express yourself.

We have a little brouhaha down here.

Actually, it seems like the whole country is interested.  Or at least has an opinion.  Fortunately, no one needs to wait for facts to have one of those!

In the time following the strange departure of a Miami Dolphin offensive lineman and the ultimate drip-drip-drip of details relating to his departure, there have been many voices heard from across the land.  Hue and cry of condemnation.  Outrage.  Shock.  Derision.  Insult.  And then, on day two…

This is the world we now live in.  Where anyone’s snap judgment can immediately be aired via any or all the social media, available on the net and on your phone.  The problem with living in this world is that people who might be reckless or careless to someone in their home or at work can now make that mistake across thousands (or millions) of potential readers.

Before anyone knows what really happened.

Of course, once you put something out there, there are some sites that allow you to delete it, but not other people’s replies and/or quotes.  And that means, if the facts change, you are stuck with either an embarrassing flip-flop or have to hide from the internet for a while.

It’s tough not to voice your opinion.  And why shouldn’t you?  Aren’t there enough talking heads on TV saying the same thing?

Except, they get paid to say things.  Not necessarily to research facts.  Not necessarily to reserve judgment.  Throw in a few “allegedly” and “apparently” hedges and maybe quote an “anonymous source” (that could be anyone from a direct participant to the cable installer) and your media (sports media, especially) can get off easy.  The alternative is a lot of days of dead air.

No denying the issue has been charged with the hot words of racism and bullying.  Oddly, the aspect of bullying seems to be having more impact on public reaction than racism.  Perhaps it’s the shock of the thought of someone over 300 lbs. being bullied or perhaps it’s the ease of identifying with bullying, since many of us have experienced or know someone who has experienced bullying.  My feelings about bullying are strong and I would not lessen the discussion of the subject.  I would, though, caution that the conclusions and judgments being made are premature.

Will the final facts validate the current public narrative or will many people sheepishly slink away, abashed at their own reckless rush to condemnation?  I prefer to wait and see.  I detest racism and bullying, but I recognize, if only from my own non-professional sporting activities, that the language of competition often exceeds polite norms.  If lines have been crossed, a reckoning is due.

I wonder, though, who watches the watchmen?  Will there be a reckoning due on those who rushed to opinion so quickly and so publicly?  I fear not…and previous facts support my opinion.

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