Let’s reserve judgment.
That’s not a particularly popular sentiment in this social-media age, when seemingly everyone wants to be the first to offer a snarky — or even vicious — comment about the latest controversial story.
Sports, unfortunately, is not immune from this troubling trend.
That became apparent last week when a story broke about former York Catholic football standout Jakkar Kinard being charged with robbing and assaulting an acquaintance.
The story became immediate Facebook fodder, with folks weighing in on all sides.
Most, of course, had no first-hand knowledge of what actually happened.
That didn’t stop them from voicing some very strong opinions.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, some crossed the line into racist. That occurs all too frequently when dealing with stories about young African-American men accused of crimes.
It doesn’t seem to matter that there appears to be at least some doubt about the extent of Kinard’s involvement in the alleged crime.
Kinard’s father, Marion Kinard, wrote a lengthy Facebook post defending his son, claiming Jakkar Kinard made a mistake, but did not commit a crime.
Kinard’s attorney, Farley Holt, said the incident “got blown way out of proportion."
Of course, fathers will nearly always defend sons, and lawyers will always defend clients.
That’s to be expected. The police version of the events, however, appears decidedly different.
That does not mean, however, that we should simply ignore the statements of the father or the lawyer.
After all, everyone accused of a crime is supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. That is everyone’s legal right.
In the eyes of Facebook commentators, however, legal rights are often ignored, and the accused are often considered guilty until proven innocent, especially if the skin of the accused person is dark.
Before the incident, Jakkar Kinard appeared to have a very bright future.
After leading the York-Adams League in rushing, powering the Fighting Irish to a District 3 championship and earning Class 2-A all-state honors, he had signed on to play NCAA Division II college football at Mercyhurst University in Erie.
His football talent is undeniable.
The status of his football future, however, is now in doubt.
It may very well hinge on the final outcome of his criminal case.
Until his legal case is ultimately resolved, however, here’s a simple idea.
Let’s reserve judgment and allow the legal proceedings to play out.
We all deserve nothing less.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.