To those in the public eye, the lesson is reiterated, over and over, ad nauseam, by the Department of Redundancy Department:
Every microphone is always hot; every smartphone is a camera; and nothing posted on the Internet ever goes away EVER.
First, a quick story:
I had a lovely lunch today with two lovely, professional women. At one point, the conversation turned to people on radio and TV [like me] getting recognized in public. One then told of a local meteorologist she observed at the grocery store one night. She described him as belligerent to store staff, possibly intoxicated and just generally mean to people. This behavior was very much in contrast to his on-air persona. She ended the tale of her encounter with the weatherman she'd watched since she was a kid with "I was really disappointed."
Now, having lived so long on the other side of the Looking Glass, I can think of so many possible reasons to let him off the hook. Maybe he was ill and even heavily medicated. Maybe something so awful happened prior to her entry on the scene that warranted a furious response. Maybe he was just having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, a fan doesn't get the benefit of context -- and, thus can't give the benefit of the doubt -- in what may be the only interaction s/he ever has with you. You only get the moment.
Now back to your regularly scheduled post...
[Photo: REUTERS/Rick Scuteri]
Victor Cruz, WR for the New York Giants, is riding the hot seat of fame at the moment. Too bad the attention isn't for the five-year, $43-million contract extension the charming receiver just signed. Like many, Cruz had a strong reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict. Like many, he took to Twitter with his opinion. Like many, his tweet got some folks even more upset.
He has since retracted and apologized. He has undoubtedly been reminded about the above lesson way too many times since. Hereafter, he will probably heed the advice of former NFL player and coach, and current ESPN analyst, Herm Edwards:
"Don't press SEND!"
One last bit from my lunch: our storyteller added, "I mean, I guess he wasn't on-the-clock..." I interjected, "We're always on-the-clock." For Victor Cruz and every athlete, entertainer, politician or public figure of any kind -- including me -- being "on" 24/7/365 is the price for enjoying the fruits of the Fame Tree.
From what I have seen and heard of him, Cruz will do it better next time -- here's to hoping we can say the same about others.