A Time to Forgive

by Ryan McCarthy, BBM Staff Writer

This will be the very last opinion piece on Kyler Murray that you will ever read. I promise.

An Oklahoma quarterback won the Heisman Trophy for the second year in a row this past Saturday night as Kyler Murray was awarded as the top college football player in the country.

Then something peculiar occurred.

Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, but apologized for a post on social media that surfaced in an article released minutes after the award. (photo credit: Brett Deering/Getty Images) 
Minutes after Murray achieved the greatest moment of his young life, a USA Today article was released in which the author did a deep dive on Murray’s Twitter account and unearthed some tweets from six years ago when he was 15. I don’t want to refer to the article or the tweets because they’ve been publicized enough, but Murray later apologized for what happened…

… when he was a teenager.

Like any other teenager, I did my share of dumb stuff. And I'm very certain that I called some friends pretty awful nicknames; most men in an athletic setting do. But all of that dumb stuff that I did was back in the 1990’s, when the Internet was barely a thing and social media was years from being invented. Now that we have the world at the swipe of our fingers, any conversation can be recorded and posted for the world to see.

It’s unfortunate that this tweet surfaced, but what’s more unfortunate is that a journalist turned a public conversation with friends on social media into a sensational story and shamed an athlete who has reached the pinnacle of college sports. Shaming such as this has become a message in our culture and that message is: If you reach a certain level of fame and you say or do something that we don't ideologically agree with, we will find a way to knock you down.

As a former professional sports chaplain, one of the things that I often spoke about to any player that I ministered to was the power of forgiveness. This is something that is missing from our current outrage addicted culture: instead of being slow to anger and slow to speak, we shame quickly and we are slow to forgive. The propensity is to generate the almighty Click, Share, and Like and turn the best night of a young athlete's night into the worst one. Perhaps it's time for us in the media to do some soul searching of our own.

Murray was humble enough to apologize. The least that we can do for him as sports fans, and more importantly as a culture, is accept Murray’s apology, forgive him, and move on.

Because if you were bestowed the same burden, wouldn't you want the same?

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