What a crazy week. /understatement
Even putting aside the up and down big ticket decisions out of United States Supreme Court this week, and even putting aside that crazy filibuster down in Texas that had us all riveted in a way politics rarely does unless it involves dick pics and/or unruly ejaculate, and even putting aside a bereft Paula Deen trying to rehabilitate her image by lying and crying on The Today Show, it was a crazy week. Even just looking at what's happened in sports, and even just Boston sports, and even just Boston sports that are professional American football.
An NFL player - and a pretty high profile one at that - killed a man. And may have killed others. I know there haven't been any convictions yet, but I'm not willing to dwell on suspicions of innocence when the facts give me none.
Every reporter who covers football should care about this. Every fan of pro football should care about this. If you're talking about the story, there is plenty to delve into: explaining the potential motives, sorting through Hernandez's past, speaking with family and friends, digging for information about that 2012 drive-by. All of this comes with the caveat that "Hernandez as villain" is the story. Hernandez as apart from the rest of us - the people who haven't taken it upon themselves to take the life of another.
Sorting through it all is an exercise in trying to find an explanation for some terrible fucking things that have happened, and to adequately frame Hernandez as man and as killer.
This is how we get right. We can do it callously or patiently or quietly or any way we really want. We must respect the victim(s), surely, and hold them up in any way we can. But we owe nothing to the man and killer. He owes us - the society with which he had and broke a sacred social contract - everything.
An eventual conviction and sentence will return Hernandez, in a legal sense, to an equilibrium with society. In a social sense, though, our collective "working through it" is how we get that equilibrium to be real.
The accuracy of this exercise is important, too. It's important to ensure, as we sort through the facts and form opinions about the man and killer, that we don't get bogged down with items far on the periphery. That, in reaching our solution, we don't fall into the trap of bringing other issues into our criticism; other issues that are simply too dissimilar to merit comparison with Hernandez's act on equal terms. Indeed, making anything else the story now, and using the Hernandez case as a springboard, is beyond asinine. It is intellectually reckless.
So when Mario Williams instagrammed a "Grand Theft New England" picture with Hernandez's head photo-shopped on, there is a necessity that those who might comment on it do so in a way that respects the only acceptable frame: Hernandez killed a guy and the rest is just noise in comparison.
What we got, though, was an object lesson in how "journalists" get so wrapped up in finding and creating a story that the words they write are nothing more than alphabetic vomit.