The Internet is full of pride and judgment. You see it every time a sports celebrity falls from grace. Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Brett Favre, Lance Armstrong and the latest casualty, Britt McHenry.
When it happens the Internet and social media explodes in righteous indignation. See Time, TMZ, CBS, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo!, Deadspin. After watching the footage of McHenry I did not feel the need to pile on; there’s already a healthy dose of that you can click through. Wag a virtual finger at her in a blog post? Please.
It’s not because McHenry works for ESPN, or the reputation that precedes her recent tirade, or the uncorroborated gossip, no, I gasp at the behavior that is revealing and confusing. The dither stems from this on Facebook just three weeks before her run-in with the towing company:
When placed side-by-side with the security video, the Facebook post above would leave anyone asking, Are you sure these are the same people? Yes, they are and, yes, it’s mind-boggling.
The video also reveals a side of the bubbly blonde sideline reporter that we’ve never witnessed before, one that puts her character in serious question. Robert McKee, a well-known screenwriter and storyteller, once wrote:
“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the characters essential nature.”
So, what do you see? Is this the real Britt McHenry?
Here’s what I see: An immature young woman behaving poorly under stress. It reveals someone who is: Prideful. Judgmental. Arrogant. Selfish. Remember what McKee wrote? True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation
When I watch McHenry on that video, I also see something personal: me, my past, in parts and pieces. I am not perfect. In fact, I was a mess at times and when I was ugly reared its head. That’s tough to admit. In fact, it makes my heart skip a beat as I type this post. In hindsight, I suppose I am lucky that my moments haven’t been captured on audio or video for the worlds consumption.
But if you take down the lights, turn off the cameras and shed the makeup, I am willing to bet all that’s left is a broken heart. I am not a psychologist, and I am in no position to psychoanalyze McHenry’s head and heart. All I have is experience and what I do know from my personal experiences is this:
The heart is not built to be selfish, nor is it designed to beat in vain conceit. The human heart is designed for love and humility; when its healthy the heart beats with patience, kindness and, ultimately, love. The healthy heart values others.
Britt McHenry has been labeled an all-around louse. Maybe she is. I don’t know her.
What I also believe is, Britt McHenry is broken.
Forgiveness does not excuse accountability. We make personal choices, sometimes in anger or frustration, but we are still responsible for the consequences of those choices.
But we need to stop blaming the poor record of the towing company. Stop blaming the media. Stop blaming today’s technology. What McHenry said, not how the video was edited, is what counts. This is not peeping-Tom journalism, as one columnist suggested. And, yes, people should be on their best behavior regardless of who they are, where they work or what is being recorded for the record.
The problem begins and ends with Britt McHenry.
Fix her and you fix the problem.