By Mohan Karulkar:
Man, it’s been a rough couple weeks for athletes.
The New York Post reports this morning at Dan Marino had an affair with a coworker at ESPN in 2005, and they had a child together. The child was kept secret, and the coworker and child were whisked away with monetary support.
All this while Dan Marino was with his wife of over 2o years, and his 6 kids.
He’s admitted it, and apologized, and asked that it be kept a private matter. For a legendary athlete, and someone always considered a squeaky clean role model, that’s a tall order. I admitted it with Lance Armstrong, and I’ll admit it again — this kind of thing is really frustrating and disappointing. We shouldn’t just pretend to have no reaction or emotion to news like this.
So where does this kind of stuff leave us? As I’ve argued before, simply saying “I forgive you Dan Marino” doesn’t mean a whole lot, because I don’t know Dan Marino, and never will. Grace should change the atmosphere around us, so whatever that looks like in this case, it should have teeth.
The media feeding frenzy has started. The Some-e-Cards and snarky Tweets have been going since 2AM. And everyone’s already wondering what Marino’s Superbowl appearance is going to look like. The teeth I have to work with is how I respond to these actions. I have no influence on Dan Marino, but I can have influence on the pushback. I can refuse to participate in the online mockery, and choose to deliberately set the tone of conversations away from negativity.
It’s important to remember that celebrities are, at the end of the day, human just like us. They have failures, and their failures have consequences. The consequences may be different, but everyone has a price to pay. And while it’s heartbreaking when someone you admire disappoints you, it just goes to show how many second chances we all need. As a kid, I was taught to view my role models as superhuman. But time and again, we’re shown that there is no such thing. We’re all human, plain and simple.
And after all, rejecting the pushback on someone you don’t know might just help you when it’s time to do it with someone you do know. If any of your friends are humans, that time will certainly come.
As feeble as it is, I do forgive you Dan Marino, even if what you did was a creep move. I can be a creep too sometimes, and I’m certainly glad the New York Post isn’t doing any exposes on me. But the most meaningful thing I can do is set an example – of rejecting the Vulture Culture as much as of simply forgiving. I hope you’ll join me too, and help spread a little grace.
In the meantime, welcome to People of the Second Chance, Dan Marino. The Vulture Culture stops here.