This was Tate Myre. A 16-year-old football player from Oxford High School in Michigan. The junior had 3.9 GPA and was taking time between studying and games to go on recruiting visits to schools like Toledo. And that he was a young man of limitless courage and concern for his fellow students speaks for itself.
The Bible says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." And Tate Myre's love is self-evident from the actions he took to save others. The infinite grief being felt by his parents, his family, his friends and everyone who knew him is surely shared by us all. And if there's anything we can all agree on, it's morning this young man's loss, honoring his valor, preserving his memory, and uniting to find ways to prevent such a heinous act from ever happening again.
I mean, if ever there was an event in 2021 America that we could all get behind and not weaponize to attack one another, it is the death of this brave young person and the loss of what was most certainly a bright future. Correct?
Um … what? I'd say there's a lot to unpack here, but this is a gift crate not worth opening. You just print off the return label, affix it to the box, and ship it back with the packing tape unbroken.
Keith Olbermann choosing to use this moment to attack the site that posted Billy's very poignant tribute to Tate Myre is beyond tone deaf. It's deranged. Unhinged. The kind of thing that warrants a professional psych eval and intensive treatment from a licensed therapist.
My first thought when I saw Olbermann's Tweet was to go on a rant about the unredeemable awfulness of social media itself. To talk about how Twitter in particular started out as a miraculous, democratizing tool for the disenfranchised and voiceless to be heard. But now it's become a distorted, fun house mirror that reflects nothing but the worst in all of us. To the point where now simply the words "Tweet" and "Twitter" themselves elicit Pavlovian responses where we just assume what's coming next will be terrible. It's how we're conditioned now.
But nope. This is not the time. Right now the only appropriate response is to go full ad hominem.
Remember when Keith Olbermann was part of the team that was the very definition of trendy hipness and hip trendiness in American culture? When the SportsCenter crew and the extended ESPN brand in general had a generation of advertisers' target demo eating out of their hands? It seems like forever ago, but it was real. Some of us lived it. The catchphrases. The sidewinks. The meta commentary. The self-satisfied smirks. We couldn't get enough of it.
But somewhere along the line, Keith did. Something inside of him died. And the joy of finding ways to work "Pulp Fiction" lines into high hops down the 3rd base line simply ran out for him. While Dan Patrick is still killing it and Craig Kilborn got into hosting talk shows and acting, and Chris Berman remains steadfastly Chris Berman, Olbermann chose the path of becoming a dark, miserable, brooding, bitter, angry, self-righteous, reactionary misanthrope, hating the face that's staring back at him in the reflection of his highball glass and shouting into the Twitter void until his bony, hobbled, arthritic thumbs give out. And that's when he's not trying to corner the market on a misprinted baseball card, like some monopolistic collectibles nerd, just to bring some joy into his otherwise wretched existence. I think all people of compassion want to feel bad that this is what he has been reduced to. But at the same time, we resent the way this Keith Olbermann did this to the Keith Olbermann who made all those Shaquille O'Neal highlights so fun to watch.
And it's worth noting that all his vitriol directed at Dave Portnoy might have a lot less to do with Keith's need to exploit an awful crime for his own self-aggrandizement than it is just trying to square a three year old beef:
Part of the reason it's best to go after Olbermann personally and not social media writ large at this moment is because the reaction to his Tweet has been everything you'd hoped it would be. Beginning with Barstool figures, but by no means limited to them.
And the public weighs in:
I could go on, because there are petabytes of these replies, memes and GIFs, and they are not the reaction Olbermann was hoping to get. Not by a damned sight. Go check out the ratio on your time. I've always spent too much time on his unstable crackpot when the focus should be kept on Tate Myre and how much poorer we all are that a person of his caliber is gone forever.
At the start of this, I said you'd think a death like Tate's would be able to bring people together. I suppose it did. But I know that this nutcase's reaction most certainly did.
Good on you, social media.