Opinion: Most of us are haters



Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Nobody is perfect — especially not student-athletes. So why are so many people quick to ostracize an individual who messes up just because he or she is in the public eye?

Sure, student-athletes are usually given opportunities not everyone has, like scholarships, and some may consider them representatives of their university. That doesn’t mean you should expect super-human behavior from them both on and off the field. They’re nothing special. They have their flaws just like everyone else and are just as susceptible to making mistakes.

Last week Kent State sophomore Zachary Gonosz was arrested for underage drinking, displaying a fake I.D. and assault. He allegedly started an altercation with a passenger in a cab in downtown Kent. The only reason I know of this is because the Daily Kent Stater wrote a full story about it. The only reason it was written was because he plays football for Kent State.

It is the job of journalists to report newsworthy events. Their coverage is based on what they think is important to their reading audience. Such is the case whenever the media writes about someone like Gonosz. It’s not the Stater’s fault for publishing a story about it, but the general public who demands it.

This student had an alcohol-induced lapse in judgment and should be punished for his wrongdoing. However, the bigger problem at hand lies with our society. For decades, people have fed on gossip and the transgressions of others, namely public figures. They look at anyone who has been given added luxuries or opportunities in life and expect them to be a role model.

Regardless of the notion that a football player like Gonosz represents Kent State, it is absurd to consider him a public figure that should be held to a higher standard. Nevertheless, he and countless others before him have been treated that way simply because they play sports and may or may not have a scholarship.

That argument is flawed anyway because all students are, one way or another, indebted to someone or something else — be it the government that awarded them a grant, the teacher who taught them in school or the parents who raised them from birth. We should all strive to be role models.

To expect student-athletes to be held to higher moral standards than the rest of us is foolish. They, personally, may have more to lose from engaging in such risky behavior, especially if they’re on some kind of athletic scholarship — but they are in no way whatsoever special.

Yes, there are coaches, fans, teammates and taxpayers who have invested themselves into these individuals. It’s unfortunate for someone in such a position to squander the opportunities they’ve been given. However, it’s also deplorable how so many people go around acting righteous whenever they hear about something that could have easily happened to them or one of their friends. We shouldn’t reserve the harshest judgment for those we don’t know.

It’s hypocritical to preach about this supposed higher standard, which only gets brought up when someone “important” makes a mistake. To think that someone in the spotlight isn’t allowed to get in trouble but we can is selfish.

I don’t know this kid. I just think it’s unfair to place him and others on such an unreasonable pedestal of moral expectation.