Casey Anthony Verdict: Athletes Misinform, Miss the Point on Twitter Pages
Before 2:15 p.m. ET, I hadn't heard a lick about the Casey Anthony murder trial.
I knew it was underway, knew it was high-profile and knew it questioned the death of an infant.
But I didn't follow the coverage. I didn't attend the hearings.
And I certainly wasn't there when it—murder, mistake or misunderstanding—happened.
In other words: I knew exactly as much as Braylon Edwards, Chad Ochocinco and Aaron Rodgers, not to mention the rest of the Twittersphere that lit up like Christmas with incendiary commentating after the verdict was published.
It ranged from outrage to sadness to misunderstanding. Some demanded answers—how did the prosecution botch that easy a lay-up? Some were out for blood, a real possibility for Anthony, had she been convicted.
Most of it, though, did what a jury of her peers couldn't:
Convict Casey Anthony—of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. And do so in the court of public opinion.
And that's fine. Unfortunate, but fine.
Do you think Edwards, Ocho Cinco and Rodgers responded to the Casey Anthony verdict responsibly on Twitter?
Fine, that is, for Twitter Tim, the no-name obscurity with a handful of z's in his profile to compensate for a shallow platform and following. You'd rather he didn't misconstrue or take liberties with details, but really: nobody cares what he thinks.
Problem with Edwards, Johnson and Rodgers, though, is that people do care. They do follow. They spoon-feed James Jones Kool-Aid on pewter silverware.
Some opened old wounds, so dated it skimped on specifics.
"So Plexico gets 2 yrs for shooting himself & Vick get 2 yrs for dog fighting BUT," @officialbraylon wrote in the first of a two-part post. "...Casey Anthony who lied about her daughters absence & later daughter found dead but she gets off SCOT FREE."
Wrong on a few counts, like the peculiarities in the New York gun laws and that Plaxico (correct spelling) Burress wasn't a registered owner in that state. And glossing over that illegal activity across state lines, like Vick's dog fighting circuit, bumps the offenses up to federal-level. (Hence the jail time.)
And Anthony does face jail time, a maximum of one year for each of the four lying to law enforcement convictions.
But that gets lost in the smog of ignorance. People think it rhetoric, not what it should be: ridiculous.
Not what it was: a conversation starter.
This column isn't about Anthony, a clearly troubled woman.
This column isn't about prosecuting her, a softball that unraveled like a spool.
This column isn't about the justice system, which functioned as it should yesterday.
It's about what happens when athletes vent without a second thought.
"Nor sure what to be more disappointed n, our justice system or someone who doesn't report their missing child while partying it up 4 a month," @AaronRodgers12 posted.
If Rodgers felt the evidence that mountainous, the verdict that obvious and the prosecutors that oblivious—he did, and tweeted as much minutes later—shouldn't he commend the jury's blindness in lieu of an empty case?
And there's something to dubbing someone a criminal when a jury wouldn't. That's the second component here, the other being the subject of Herm Edwards' rookie symposium speech.
It's also what makes this so puzzling:
"Not guilty WTF they jus gave everyone the right to kill #thissomebull(expletive)."
You'd think Maurkice Pouncey, the center Ben Roethlisberger stands behind, would honor what happens actually in court.
Pouncey could have been tactful.
Rodgers could have been constructive.
"Very blessed n thankful to all the men and women in uniform today," was his last tweet before his tirade.
If in doubt, they both could've kept quiet, what should be the default when playing with explosive social media. That's true no matter how honorable the intent, like Rashard Mendenhall's reaction to Osama bin Laden's death.
"What kind of person celebrates death?" was where he should've stopped. But he went on—"It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”—because Mendenhall isn't equipped to sound off with the delicacy these issues require.
But they didn't. That's irresponsible.
I don't mind the activism. I don't mind the consciousness.
In fact, I'm glad that athletes and actors and anybody, really, chime in. Some people think sports stars are at their best with mouthpieces in. I don't.
Even if space is capped at 140 characters of fewer, far too crammed for insight. (At least for most.)
But piling up ignorance isn't better than adding to silence.
Especially when it misses the point.
"Who watched the Casey Anthony verdict? My heart hurts for that precious baby girl. Children are so innocent. God bless Caylee Marie."
That nugget comes compliments of Kourtney Kardashian, the only one to get it right and recognize the real loss yesterday.
Looks like Kardashian knew something everyone else didn't. Or saw what they couldn't.
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