Zimmerman Trial Brings Out Best In Ducks

Dwayne Stanford has a big presence on Twitter

© Kevin Cline Photography

Dwayne Stanford has a big presence on Twitter

As the George Zimmerman trial came to a merciful end last night, the world took to social media expressing their feelings on the biggest media trial we’ve seen since since O.J.’s glove didn’t fit.

It brought out the best in people, it brought out the worst. It brought people together, it pushed people apart and, most importantly, it forced everyone to have an opinion on something that was bigger than themselves.

Many Oregon Duck players partook and I, for one, liked what I saw.

I don’t have an opinion on the trial, I’ll tell you that right now. I have avoided the news, simply because I don’t want to get involved with something that I have no control over. The bottom line is that one person died, two families were shaken, and to me, that needs to be the focus. So I have no opinion on the verdict, one way or another. On Twitter, however, many Duck players made their views — for and against the final verdict — known, and it brought a smile to my face.

Twitter has, for me, been a wonderful way to follow great sports writers and read things that might normally have escaped me. It’s also been an intriguing way to follow my favorite Duck players getting critical updates on their classes, when they’re hungry (and what for) and waiting anxiously as they search for something to do on a Friday night (my tongue is pressed firmly in my cheek, by the way). With the announcement of the Zimmerman verdict, we got to see a different side of our boys that we normally wouldn’t get to see.

I won’t give names, or opinions. If you want them, you can follow the players themselves. But what took place last night was insightful thoughts, smart banter and honest feelings. The subject at hand goes more than skin deep, and it was refreshing to see so many

Black Mamba

Kevin Cline

Do Mamba’s Tweet?

18-22 year olds take a break from their lives and give question to a subject that is so painful.

Chip Kelly took a lot of heat his first year for the character of his team. The rash of arrests was appalling, and Duck fans took notice. Four years later, it appears that his ultimate goal for the team, to be remembered for having character and not being characters, is paying off.

Will every team be filled with nothing but choir boys? No. Just last week, an incoming recruit found his name in the paper for the wrong reasons. But if the response from the Zimmerman trial, and the small sampling of players’ opinions that we saw on Twitter, is any indication, Oregon fans should be proud of the team that has been assembled.

College football players will be, well, college football players. They’re going to have moments of immaturity, miss a class or two, gawk at girls in the quad… but that doesn’t define character. True character comes in the way you treat other people in a time of need, and the way you rationalize and think about things that are bigger than you.

It appears Oregon has plenty of guys who are thinking the right way. Good character, good players. I don’t know if you can ask for more.

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Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles "Chip" Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85

  • Joel = Hero (sandwich)

    This post belongs in a museum or a landfill, but I have no opinion on which one. Read it yourself, it’s probably the most important post since the OJ Simpson trial. If one of the major sports networks doesn’t immediately do a feature story on this post and the author, it will be stunning. I expect Joel’s professional profile will continue to rise and ultimately he will be the next host of an ESPN national show.

  • UOAlum77

    Somehow I feel more stupid after reading this.

  • Chris

    Interesting topic, Joel. Personally, I disagree with your premise that it brought out the best in our players. If anything, it showed off the immaturity of 18-22 year olds. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with being immature at that age (since most are), but I still cringed at many of the posts.

    I have no idea what really happened. None. But a jury looked at the actual evidence and decided to let George Zimmerman walk. To cry foul and act like a child who didn’t get their way isn’t a sign of character, IMO. Maybe, just maybe, the jury knew more about the evidence than those screaming “injustice” on Twitter.

    The saddest part of this whole thing is how disgusting the media portrayed this whole trial. Race-baiting at its worst, and it worked. Where’s the outcry for the 75 people who were murdered in Chicago over July 4th weekend?

    • hoboduck

      You nailed it Chris. “Maybe, just maybe, the jury knew more about the evidence than those screaming “injustice” on Twitter.”

      Go Ducks

  • Chris Andres

    Not sure I get the point of this story. Would it really have been a horrible thing to state a few examples? Otherwise we have absolutely no idea what were the specifics of what made you feel good about it. Not everyone goes on Twitter after all.

  • hokieduck

    Let’s see, a post about the Twitter responses of college athletes to a breaking new story … with nary a single tweet included or athlete identified.

    Maybe the Food Network website should start describing dishes and then not name what they are, give any ingredients or directions as to how to cook this dish.