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Thursday, May 23, 2024

So, Will Grier. Following the announcement that Monday’s press conference would be pushed back in order to acknowledge Grier’s suspension for violating the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s substance-abuse policy, social media was alight with memes and missives expressing disappointment and anger. While UF students worked through their grief, Florida State University students tried to spin the moment as a justification for their own former star quarterback Jameis Winston’s immoral behavior — it didn’t stick.

Once the press conference actually occurred, and the circumstances behind the suspension were made clear, the online roar fell to a whisper.

If the narrative presented by Grier is true — wherein he violated NCAA rules by failing to make sure the composition of over-the-counter medicine he took fell within guidelines — the only thing he’s guilty of is incompetence.

This is something we all occasionally fall prey to and, in all likelihood, will continually do for the rest of our lives.

Although it’s a good thing the knee-jerk negative reaction to Grier’s suspension has mostly sputtered out, it never should have been there to begin with.

The positive reinforcement that comes with amassing Facebook likes means people are all too trigger-happy to make snap judgments in the name of social media currency — the more relevant and immediate the witty comment, the more retweets/favorites/likes/what-have-you.

As we’ve said in the past, screwing up is what we as college students DO.

If college had a general syllabus, drinking too much and bombing the occasional exam would fit snugly next to the pop quizzes on the course calendar.

Even though many strive to become celebrities or carry high-social profiles, we doubt most could handle the scrutiny and criticism that comes with the territory.

No decent human being — with the possible exception of leaders and politicians who ultimately shape the direction of our lives, and certainly not young men and women doing their best — deserves to have their every action dissected, analyzed and held up for the masses to morally assess.

The next time you’re about to share a mugshot of someone you went to high school with, stop and take a moment to really think about what you’re doing.

Beloved American treasure Neil deGrasse Tyson once said empathy should be a part of our formal education, and we’re inclined to agree with him.

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But alas, no academic has stepped up and offered EMP2001 as a course yet, so we suppose we’ll have to teach ourselves.

Yes, Will Grier and his family are in the public spotlight, and with the spotlight comes scrutiny.

Yes, he certainly screwed up and should have been more conscious of NCAA rules and what he put in his body.

But by and large, having empathy and not resorting to quick judgment has, as far as we’re aware, never hurt anybody.

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