WTVM Editorial 12-19-18: Social media shame

WTVM Editorial 12-19-18: Social media shame

(WTVM) - Watching a talented young man like Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray win the Heisman Trophy makes you realize what a singular achievement it is - attained by very few, highly successful athletes. It’s the Oscars of sports.

But just as soon as Murray accepted the iconic stiff-arm statue, social media started lighting up with homophobic tweets the quarterback made when he was 14-years-old!

And it wasn’t the usual internet troublemakers that brought those long-ago teenage tweets to everyone’s attention. It was the national newspaper USA Today.

Their sports writer felt it was his duty to dig back into Kyler Murray’s past. Back when Murray was a child, not the man he is today, to make sure everyone knew he had sent a few messages that now look terrible.

As a journalist, that USA Today sports reporter should be ashamed of himself. His reporting had no purpose other than to destroy a promising young that football star. Digging up those tweets was not journalism. It was a game of gotcha.

It’s too often the case lately that social media is used to ruin people whether they need to be ruined or not.

Old social media posts also put an end to Kevin Hart hosting the Oscars. Hart spent years building his career as a successful comedian in concert and in films – he’s truly a self-made man.

He had already apologized for his past gay slurs before the Oscars mess.

But that’s not good enough for the unelected social media police. If they can use your past words against you to ruin your career or turn others against you, they will.

Social media can do a lot of good and many positive stories are spread through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

But the Kyler Murray and Kevin Hart attacks are just more reminders – as if we needed any more reminders – that we must be careful what we create on social media. For good or bad, it lives on forever.

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