I remember when I was younger and Mike Tyson first hit the scene as a boxing phenom, I used to think that he was indestructible. Although I didn't know much about boxing at the time, I knew that he had a reputation for knocking people out in very short periods of time. So to me that made him cool.
Then rumors surfaced about him abusing his then wife, Robin Givens, who I also liked from her role on "Head of the Class", and from that point on his popularity with me began to rapidly decline.
Then from there it seemed like Mike Tyson was always in the news for doing one crazy thing or another, and then he became the bulky, dim-witted boxer, who had a comical lisp that was fun to laugh at when comedians made fun of him on SNL and other late night talk shows and comedy skits.
And then came the biting incident and then the rape that landed him in prison for 3 years and so on and so forth...
I say all that to say this...yesterday I watched Oprah's interview with Mike Tyson and as I watched the man that I used to laugh at and judge sit on Oprah's couch in front of millions and bear his heart and soul, I felt deeply ashamed of myself. I felt ashamed because I laughed and judged him without knowing anything about him or what he had been through in his life to cause him to be like he was.
All too many times we formulate opinions about people we have never met based on what we see and hear in media, but what we have to stop and realize is that the media is a big machine that thrives on drama and propaganda. Some of which is true, a lot of which is fabricated, and the rest of it may just be surface information. Since it is not always possible to tell which is which we need to learn not to buy in to every thing we see and hear, learn to be discerning and do your own due diligence with respect to matters that are important to you.
Oprah's interview with Mike Tyson reminded me of one very important thing: we are all human. People in the public eye have problems just like everyone else and they need compassion, help and understanding just like everyone else.
And to Mike Tyson, I thank you for sharing your testimony with the world and forcing us to take a close look at ourselves.
Link to watch Oprah's interview with Mike Tyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf3-A9jPjag