Speak well of your heroes but don’t bury their misdeeds

Kobe Bryant

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”

The above is from the play Julius Caesar, spoken by Marc Antony, but how times have changed since those words were first uttered.

Anthony alluded that the evil that men do lives on forever but the good is buried with the bones. That is not the case in today’s hero-worshipping of celebrities, royals and all things famous.

No one is allowed to comment anything remotely negative – even if it may be true.

I’m not here to bury or praise Kobe Bryant … or anyone of his ilk. As a player and sportsman, the former basketball star inspired, amazed and mesmerised millions of sports fans – me included, even though I’m not the biggest basketball fan.

But like many sporting heroes and celebrities, he was flawed. We are human after all, and none of us is perfect.

Perhaps his death was not the right time to revisit the rape allegations against him but what I don’t understand is how “fans” can threaten anyone who speaks about the bad their hero may have done.

Telling those who bring up issues against a much-loved personality that they “deserve to die” or “be raped” is sadly the norm these days.

“Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling,” Washington Post politics reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted shortly after Bryant’s death.

She was placed on administrative leave while her newspaper investigated if the tweet violated “the newsroom’s social media policy”. She has since been reinstated as the newspaper said although the tweet was “ill-timed”, she “was not in clear and direct violation of our social media policy.”

And it says so much that the women who brought up the topic received more vitriol condemnation than men.

Does it make it lesser of a crime if men talked about it? A female friend suggested this is why women don’t or are scared to speak up when they are assaulted.

Not only would people want to not believe them, but the women would immediately be discredited and hounded by trolls.

It could also be why men such as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Savile managed to perpetuate their misdeeds for so long.

No one wanted to believe their victims.

Another friend, Rizal S, said this attitude and culture of making saints of this type of people is what perpetuates the horrible things that happen.

“If we are not allowed to talk about the misdeeds of these celebrities when they are gone, what is the message?”

“That if you are famous enough and talented enough, and if corporations make huge amounts of money off you, then people will help cover up the horrific things that you did?

“What kind of example will this set for the young? That if I make it big I can do whatever I want, to whomever I want, and the corporations and lawyers will cover it up for me?” asked Rizal.

So yes, by all means, speak well about your heroes but please don’t bury their misdeeds.

Also remember the others who died in the helicopter crash – Bryant’s daughter Gianna, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, Christina Mauser, an assistant girls’ basketball coach, Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton and pilot Ara Zobayan.

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