When news started to spread about Oscar Pistorious accidentally shooting his girlfriend or murdering her (whichever you believe) I was not surprised. Many expressed outrage, disbelief, and even outright hate over the situation when in reality no one should be surprised. Not because Pistorious is a bad person, but simply because people forget one important fact, athletes are still human and make the same mistakes as the average person.
Pistorious was a national hero and a worldwide sensation, we are all familiar with his story. He was on a high in his life with plenty of money and endorsements, a beautiful model for a girlfriend, and making history at the Olympics. He relished in the spotlight and seemed to enjoy the attention he got from people when he hit celebrity status. When the incident happened on February 14th, that’s when the media attention started and public opinions formed immediately.
The first newspaper article I read had the words “Blade Gunner” emboldened on the front page, and people started making jokes that Pistorious didn’t have a “leg to stand on” when it came to the murder trial. Just that quickly Pistorious went form inspiration to villain and water cooler punch line. Everything he had done in the last 8 months to reach world wide fame was erased literally in a few hours.
One week into this the headlines come almost daily, as the lead investigator on the case Hilton Botha has a murder trial he must fight so he has been removed from the Pistorious case. The prosecution’s case against Pistorius began to unravel with revelations of a series of police blunders and Botha’s admission that authorities have no evidence challenging the Pistorious’s claim he killed his girlfriend accidentally.
Botha has also admitted that police had left a 9 mm slug from the gun that killed Steenkamp inside a toilet at the scene. Police also lost track of illegal ammunition found inside the house. On top of that Botha himself walked through the crime scene without wearing protective shoe covers, potentially contaminating the area. All points that any defense lawyer can use to help Pistorious win the case in court.
With all of that it won’t matter, many people have already made up their mind as to his guilt or innocence. Even if he manages to get out of doing any jail time or a lesser sentence, you can be sure that he won’t be appearing on any billboards or commercials ever again. The public does have a short attention span these days, but much like Ray Lewis no matter what Pistorious does going forward there will be people who will consider him a cold blooded murderer regardless of what’s determined in court.