February 8, 2007 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Zealots Beware

by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer

There's nothing like a little controversy to stir the pot.

Time and again, history has shown that whether we like it or not, people remember scandals; heck, they relish in them. It's an opportunity for people to divert the attention away from their own misfortunes and bask in the misfortunes of others. Never is that more true than when bad things happen to famous people.

A former President's infidelity got him impeached, while the current President's incompetence got him reelected. One entertainer showing a boob nearly ended her career, while another showing two bigger boobs (and then some) proved her springboard to superstardom. It seems people are fickle in what they condone and what they condemn, deciding almost anecdotally what is and what is not morally reprehensible in the scornful public eye.

And with the recent unraveling of Judy's-gate, it appears martyrdom is fast approaching the most famous of famous at the University of North Dakota — the men's hockey team.

Reports vary, but what is known is that decisions were made and, most likely, consequences will ensue. It should be no more than that. A recent editorial in the school's newspaper, The Dakota Student, described said players' transgressions as if they were capital offenses.

"But whatever that punishment is, it needs to send a clear message that student athletes are held to a higher standard," quoths the editorial board, atop their ivory tower. "...We simply hope that these mistakes are not made again, and that all stakeholders in this university are consistently held responsible for their actions regardless of their name or status."

How lucky UND students are to have such a watchdog group on campus; it's comforting to know that finger pointing is as useful as ever. What these writers fail to address, however, despite it being common knowledge at most universities, is this:

1) Students drink;
2) Underage;
3) At bars.

This is in no way advocating such practices, rather it is accepting the notion of free will and free choice. Simply because an individual enjoys an elevated status on their respective campus shouldn't mean they should be held to an elevated standard. Hockey players are not, nor should they be, judged by their personal morality, only their talent; after all, that's what got them where they are, isn't it? Likewise, little is it anyone's business what any of us chooses to do apart from school, so long as we are all willing to accept the consequences of our actions.

The simple fact is that as humans, we are inherently flawed; we make mistakes. But instead of sensationalizing the actions of a select few, perhaps we should give these individuals the same chance at redemption we would rightfully expect for ourselves if we were in a similar situation.

If nothing else, the recent Duke Lacrosse fiasco should open our eyes as to the dangers of jumping hastily to conclusions; remember these players, just like those in Durham, remain innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

Growing up, I made countless poor decisions, and each time my father would sit me down and give me the same piece of advice: "It's not the mistake you make; it's what you do after it that defines you as a person."

Your move, boys.

Memory Lane: Dane's rant reminded me of a famous rant of mine, one that drew heat from everywhere, including colleagues. It was in the aftermath of the Vermont hazing scandal. Let's take a look. I wonder where Kevin Karlander is today. I think it's time to find out. — Adam W. (ed.)

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