If you wait to bring people down in their in their shining moment, you are a predator.
Kyler Murray wins the Heisman, and on a night he is celebrated, the teenage twitter police wanted to tear him down. Y’all are going to have to stop trying to hold people’s feet to the fire for things they tweeted while 14-15 years old. People evolve and grow from stupid teens. Kyler Murray is now 21 years old. Consider the things did and believed to be true at 14 versus the things you did and believed at 21. Now stack that on top of the things you believe and do now. There was likely a ton of evolution of thought and maturity there.
Our need in society to tear people down in their greatest moments is sickening. Whoever unearthed Kyler Murray’s tweets from when he was 14 and waited to bring them out publicly should be embarrassed. The first click bait article about it 10 minutes after the Heisman ceremony was over. When somebody makes statements, tweets, or remarks that may be perceived as racist, sexist, or disparaging against someone’s sexuality it is fair for people to ask them about it. However, for someone to screenshot deleted tweets and hold on to them until your moment in the sun is wrong. Lying in wait to attack is predatory behavior. This is no different than showing up at someone’s housewarming and asking them about the time they got arrested for shoplifting or asking someone at their wedding reception about the time their child died.
After I said this on Twitter and Facebook a few people asked me would I feel differently if Murray’s tweets had been racist by a white person. I said no. In fact, this did happen multiple times in 2018. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had racist tweets surface right before the NFL draft. Also, Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo had tweets come out immediately after he was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. I don’t know if either one of them is racist, but I realize that even if they were things could have changed from 14-21. They must be judged by their actions and character now. We cannot reasonably expect teenagers to tweet responsibly when adults find it a tough task.
When I was at Oregon, I played with a guy who grew up with the skinheads and Aryan Nation crowd. I knew him for years, and even though we weren’t particularly close, his racist perspective wasn’t obvious. During my redshirt sophomore year, we sat down and had a very real conversation. He told me about his past and how coming to college was the best thing for him. He saw how wrong the people were who taught him falsehoods about people of other races. His college experience with friends and teammates showed him there were two kinds of people: good and bad. He learned that character was most important, not skin color. I’m not sure if that moment was where his epiphany happened or whether he just wanted to share it.
So, I hate to give him the only true test of racism. I asked him would he have a problem is one of the “good Black guys” married his daughter would he be ok with it. His honesty was, and vulnerability was admirable. He said it would be hard because an interracial marriage would cause so much tension within his family and community. However, if he treated her great, I would be happy and accept him and defend him.
The entire time I was sitting there in shock at what I was hearing. At 20 years old, I would have expected to hear this from a kid from the south or middle America, but not a kid from the melting pot that is southern California. My conversation with him did teach me a valuable lesson. We have to allow people room to grow, mature, and change. Everyone must be accountable for their words and actions, but we cannot be shortsighted enough to permanently label them racist, sexist, and homophobic. Imagine if there were social media and smartphones around to capture the ridiculous things you did and said as a kid. I can raise my hand and honestly say I would have a lot of questions to answer. So why on earth would people try and hold someone’s teenage tweets against them?
Let’s be wary not to tear people down in their golden moments. We have to judge people for who they are, not who they were.