Friday, March 1, 2013

Oscar Pistorius Murder Shows That Athletes Are Humans Just Like All Of Us

Dear Oscar Pistorius believers,

What I’m about to write is the truth about an inspirational Olympian who let us down. I was, like you, in tremendous shock when the news broke that Pistorius faced a murder charge in South Africa. I happened to believe in Pistorius, and was in defense of the “Blade Runner.”

Why are we taken by surprise? Why not realize that athletes are humans, like the rest of us all over the world? Pistorius, a double-amputee who inspired many by the masses, is shocking because of our perception that he’s a hero and a model of excellence to those with disabilities.

The last thing Pistorius wants, while he’s accused of premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is for some bitter people to be against him and grasp a sense that he’s a senseless murderer.

He’s used to criticism that he heard all last summer for running with able-bodies as the blades, theoretically, were convenient to try to discourage him from fulfilling a lifelong dream — although he probably doesn’t care what people think about him. But he should be fazed by the murder case that’s giving him a bad name, even if he was built up then suddenly knocked down by the same Olympian cult.

I am shocked by the allegations. I’m stunned by a man who folks all over the world believed in. But why should we be startled? If anything, we should expect a pro athlete to have trouble with the law. We shouldn’t drop our jaws when our beloved pro athletes are involved in a scandal.

He’s like all the rest, after all: an amateur athlete who thinks he’s above the law and failed to realize those before him who were involved in transgressions, as there is a long history of athletes who have disappointed and shocked fans with their poor judgments.

For example, the sex scandal involving Tiger Woods wouldn’t go away for a long time, which caught us by surprise when he was simply, by all accounts, the most manicured, spotless golfer. However, he couldn’t keep his pants zipped and acknowledged that he cheated with as many as 120 women.

Remember Michael Vick‘s dogfighting scandal? That was even more horrific than Woods’ sins, and amazingly enough, we’ve forgiven the quarterback but obviously have not forgotten about the horrific crime. Remember when a 19-year-old hotel employee accused NBA superstar Kobe Bryant of rape? Those charges against him were eventually dismissed.

Alex Rodriguez nationally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs while he played for the Texas Rangers; Andre Agassi, one of the greatest tennis stars, confessed to using crystal methamphetamine and recently, Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey for cheating.

We act like athletes or celebrities can do nothing wrong while we, as fans and members of the media, express great joy for every amateur or pro athlete and then become blinded by the fact that they make mistakes. It’s OK to make mental mistakes, because in reality it happens and it is only common.

But in this case, I have the feeling, like many, that he killed her intentionally and with premeditation on Valentine’s Day. Then again, I could be wrong. I wasn’t there at the time he shot her, so I can only state carefully about the killing. Viewed just a summer ago as an inspiration, especially to those who are disabled bodies, he’s suddenly a killer in many eyes.

This shocking downfall is jarring — and strangely enough — is unreal, but in reality, he shot and killed his girlfriend, dropping his head in shame at court appearances while shedding tears in a despairing moment. He has always been a fast runner on those blades, a wild animal on the track, a firm believer, making it possible for those who are handicapped.

What we didn’t know, at least when it comes to this devastating news, is that he had personal issues and lived a double-life. But he said he thought an intruder was in the house and that he killed his girlfriend by mistake. That could just be, for all we know, convenient to Pistorius, a way he can try to get away with the slaying of another human.

Turns out Pistorius is in ruins, though. He will be going to prison, unlike most athletes here in the states. He won’t certainly be running in 2016 at the summer games in Brazil. The thing is, no one ever imagined that Pistorius would ever be charged with murdering someone, but surprisingly as we shouldn’t be nonplussed by the recent incident, I was. Now I’m not.

Before this murder case, he was popular and appreciated from his inspirational image, but now he’s not even recognized by those who once showed support for him, including the people of Nike and Oakley. With those two endorsement deals, he was set to earn $2 million this year.

With this happening, we know Pistorius is obsessed with guns and had been involved in previous domestic incidents, according to South African police. It just goes to show that he’s not perfect. He’s certainly a great athlete, but what an Olympian does on the stage doesn’t define their character.

There is, as I write this, a scandal in the making right now. Some athlete is out there using banned substances. Some athlete is out there having an extramarital affair. Some athlete is out there running a scam. Some athlete is out there breaking the rules, or seconds away from a crime.

So this is not the first time an athlete has let us down. Get used to it. Humans are humans.