I’ve been reading my Facebook feed with growing disdain the past two days. I get it -- innocent until proven guilty. Really, I do. But isn’t anyone even going to entertain the notion that Tony Stewart MIGHT have hit fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. on purpose?
Everyone seems to be automatically running to his defense – claiming right off the bat that it was an “accident,” that Ward was stupid and “deserving” because he walked out onto a dark track, that people need to leave Stewart alone and quit badgering him because what happened could’ve happened to anyone and he’s very distraught over it.
OK, I’m willing to believe any of those statements might be true. I’m also willing to believe Tony Stewart did it on purpose – a scenario no one else seems open to.
I’m not a NASCAR fan and I don’t know much about its participants, so Tony Stewart and his perceived innocence or perceived guilt mean nothing to me. Honestly. Actually, I DO hope it was an accident. I’d hate to believe we live in a world where a guy would so quickly take another man’s life over basically nothing. Nothing.
But the fact of the matter is, Tony Stewart is a hothead who is legendary for his blow-ups and temper tantrums. And if you watch the video of the incident (yes, I did), you’ll hear that he revved the engine before his car made contact with Ward. Onlookers and witnesses attested to the same thing. Also, there was a yellow caution flag out. Why would you need to be revving your engine if you should be slowing down? Sounds fishy to me.
For those who say Stewart is very upset over what happened – well, of course he is. He could be facing a trial and prison. Is he going to act nonchalant? No way. Is he truly upset over the loss of Ward’s life? Or is he upset about what he may have gotten himself into? Either way, it would look even more awful on his part if he wasn’t distraught, so who would expect anything else? Saying he’s upset is NOT an excuse and it’s NOT a sign that he’s innocent.
Getting out of your car and walking out onto a dark track is stupid. There’s no doubt about that. Do we all do stupid things every day? Yep. Do we deserve to die for our mistakes? If you’re crossing a street against the light and an oncoming car spots you in plenty of time, the driver likely will slam on his breaks. No, the driver shouldn’t have had to do that. You’re an idiot for crossing against the light. But that doesn’t mean the driver can justify hitting you by saying, “You know, I saw that pedestrian and had plenty of time to stop and avoid hitting him, but he wasn’t following the rules of the road, so he deserved to die. And that’s why I hit him.” Sounds a little ridiculous, huh?
And finally, think about this: Why isn’t Stewart behind bars?! If you or I (or Kevin Ward Jr.) had hit and killed Tony Stewart with our car (on accident or otherwise), would we be walking around free right now? Nope. I highly doubt it. We’d be jailed, awaiting the outcome of the investigation, likely slapped with an involuntary manslaughter charge of some type, with other charges pending.
People are arrested, tried and sentenced for offenses that are less serious than this. People need to STOP acting like professional “athletes” are deities and jumping to their defenses! Sure, there are plenty of good ones out there, but an athlete’s celebrity status does not mean he or she cannot be held accountable for their actions. This is seriously unbelievable and infuriating.
I’m not convicting Tony Stewart in a court of public opinion. I’m just asking everyone out there to see this situation for what it is and understand that he could be guilty just as easily as he could be innocent.
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