Being a professional athlete comes with its fair share of benefits, but there is also a pretty big downside in certain circumstances. Athletes are often highly compensated to simply play a game, but they put their pants on the same way as everyone else and they’re all human, which we should remember when events happen within their personal lives.
Over the weekend, Ravens running back Ray Rice was a victim of a burglary, having $2,000 and a couple of firearms stolen from his home. Luckily, Rice was out of town and a friend staying at the home during the time was unharmed. However, this is an unsettling situation that leaves the victims feeling violated.
As if Rice’s privacy wasn’t already violated enough, local news entities had to further invade Rice’s privacy by publishing the name of his street, now letting everyone know where he lives. Even though information like this can be obtained with a few searches online, directly publishing information of high profile figures online is just wrong.
With most crimes, outlets publishing the block and street in which they occurred is common, but they went too far with Rice. The only reason a burglary where money and a few firearms were stolen made news in the first place was because of who the victim was, so wouldn’t the right (and human) thing be to not publish his street name and simply say the city in which it occurred instead?
There is a reason that Rice and many other high profile people choose to live in the area that they do. The area is discreet, off the beaten path from many high-traffic commercial properties and can restore normalcy into their very public lives. Now, Rice isn’t already a victim of losing personal property and a sense of security, he also essentially now has his address out for anyone to see with a simple Google search.
There is a fine line between what is news and what is superfluous detail. If reporting that Rice’s house had been broken into was deemed big enough to be a news story, actually giving his street name lends nothing to the story being reported while opening the door to trouble. Rice’s address was later edited out, an admission of guilt by overzealous reporters.
Some will argue that high profile figures shouldn’t receive special treatment because anyone is subject to having their address published, but at the same time you have to sit back and think, would this even be a big news story in the first place had it not been for the name of the victim? If you think that this story revolves more around the person who had a crime committed against them than the crime itself, then you clearly see how people hold athletes and other public figures to a different standard.
Unfortunately, this will happen to others sooner rather than later. Can there just be a common consensus that if someone is recognizable, you give them a little respect and not further violate their privacy so they don’t have unexpected guests at their next backyard cookout by publishing where they live down to the name of the street?
It’s the right way to move forward.