Oscar Pistorius

Maybe the most astute comment I’ve read on the sad story about Oscar Pistorius, by Bruce Arthur:

So when an ex-girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, told a South African paper last year that “Oscar is certainly not what people think he is” — before her lawyer delivered a letter saying she withdrew everything she said — should that have been part of his story? Can everything be part of a story?

No, it cannot. Sports reveal character, but we can’t truly know if whatever drove an athlete to greatness was nobility or obsession or a hidden reservoir of rage. We can’t truly know what fame does to somebody. We can’t know a person, not really, no matter how many TV interviews or magazine features or newspaper columns they are in. Sports, and sportswriting, offers snapshots, glimpses, hints, or façades. Some of it is real, but none of it is ever comprehensive. We think we know, and we don’t, and we have to be reminded of this over and over again, because the lights are bright, and sports can be beautiful, and it causes us to forget, and believe again. Because we want it to be true.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.kscnewmancenter.wordpress.com Cindy

    So sad. As the mother of a little girl who is physically disabled, I had really hoped to be able to point to Oscar Pistorius as a role model. Alas, my search continues.

    Great reflection, though! Thanks!

  • Jim

    O.J. Simpson comes to mind…

  • phil_style

    The British entertainment industry and the recent exposure of a long history of abuses carried out by multiple “personalities” is enough to warn anybody that the public persona and the person might not be aligned.

    Shakespeare knew this all too well.
    O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.

  • http://www.parkpresbyterian.org J. Christy Wareham

    If we all were to heed these thoughts in ways that change our elevation of, curiosity in and dehumanizing devotion to celebrity, the world would become a different place.

  • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

    This is such a sad story. The author makes a good point. The various interviews and stories typically do not give us a comprehensive understanding of a person in the news. Because we want it to be true does not necessarily make it so. Those of us who are sports fans and who have followed teams/individuals have often learned this as we learned that someone whom we have admired was not necessarily the perceived him/her to be.

  • http://www.scripturezealot.com ScriptureZealot

    Cindy, because of the quote, I don’t think we can look to public personalities as role models. They need to be a father, someone we know, or best yet, Jesus. I don’t know if they necessarily have to be physically disabled, but that’s not quite my area. You know this well; I just wanted to comment on it.
    Jeff

  • Stu

    Innocent until proven guilty right?

  • Stu

    The thing about this is that it highlights the dilemma pastor’s and church leaders often face. The idea that a role model is without blemish seems to ignore the human condition. I know this is an extreme case, but if Pestorius is found guilty of murder, this has no impact on his achievements the track. He still did exceedingly well and is still deserving of credit for that.

    I guess that if we consider “role models” as “as flawless as can be” we adopt a tabloid mentality toward people and reduce their human complexity. I’m not a simple being, and nor are our role models—no matter how much we wish they were.


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