Yesterday I listened to another round of racial offense, this time located in the NFL. The story is basically this: A white football player went to a concert, starting drinking and made a racial slur, captured on video. Now, he is being taken to task by the media. Yet, his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, seem to be dealing with it.
But that isn’t enough. It’s time for the unmerciful to lambast their judgment on yet another flawed person and make sure his career and life are deeply impacted.
What’s going on here in this repeated pattern by media?
First, let me frame my remarks. Racial slurs, bullying and any unkind remarks are never OK. We have to do better at examining the prejudice and discrimination we hold in our hearts.
In fact, the Bible tells us that every careless word will be judged one day! Ouch!
But last time I looked, we are all flawed, some of us would say we are sinners, falling very short of the glory of God. We make mistakes, we say terrible things sometimes. What if we were videoed 24/7 in our families, on the job, etc.?
Media go too far and incites people to hang on to offense, not work through it. Especially the news pundants who rarely report but are big on their opinions.
This time around, I give Michael Vick, quarterback of the Eagles big props! His response was refreshing. Why? Because Vick has been the target of unrelenting media that tried their best to crucify him for his mistakes. Again, please hear me, what he did in his past with dog fighting was wrong. But Vick, I really believed, learned something from his mistakes and hopefully will continue to do so. His response last night was helpful and forgiving. People make mistakes, you deal with it and move on.
Vick said. “Riley is still my teammate. And he just stood in front of us as a man and apologized for what he said. And somewhere deep down, you have to find some level of respect for that. Riley wished he never said it.”
According to the Huffington Post, his brother Marcus Vick, went on a Twitter tirade, calling Riley all kinds of expletives. His tweets– angry, degrading, and hateful. Somehow, that is OK? Who is taking him to task for hate speech? Hate spewed back at a racist remark just revs up the hate. To Michael’s credit, he said he did not agree with his brother.
A mistake should not define the person for the rest of his or her life or we all are in trouble. Cast that stone at your brother and it will fly back in your face at some point.
Here’s a novel idea: How about media being part of the solution instead of problem? How about asking questions, conducting interviews with people like Vick, Tebow (yes I put them in the same sentence) and others who manage to find a way to forgive and keep moving forward. What about promoting reconciliation instead of constant anger and division that stirs up hate? Wait, that doesn’t help ratings! We prefer the out of control rantings of reality TV, where revenge, resentfulness and unforgiveness are glorified.
But for grace, so go I! We’ve all sinned. The important part is if we confess those sins, repent (change our ways) and walk in God’s grace. He is the only judge and jury on the state of our hearts. Our job is to accept the confession and forgive.
Was the racial slur offensive? Yes.
Was there an apology? Yes.
Should we forgive? Yes.
Does that mean that everything is great now? No, it means people need to address their prejudice and work on race relations.
Who truly changes hearts? God, not political correctness and certainly not the media!