Thanks for the feedback Jonathan! Athletes are a good example of a gray area in this case, especially in the case of Oscar Pistorius. I think forgiveness also depends on whether or not the person was convicted in court or if there is overwhelming evidence that the person has committed a crime. Bill Clinton is forgiven because it’s never been proven that he did rape anyone; the Cosby case was just declared a mistrial. I think there is a difference in forgiveness for someone who is accused of a crime and someone who is proven to have committed one. Same goes for a lot of the examples you gave. When a person’s actions are up for debate, it’s easier to toss it aside as speculation, especially if you’re a regular citizen and not invested in the case. OJ is a bit of an exception because his crime was extreme, but also shows another complication: media portrayal. Societal perception of a public figure often comes from the news and online. The Searle case has received hardly any media coverage, but Chris Brown has been consistently talked about since 2009 (possibly because he keeps acting recklessly). So, is media forgiveness different than societal forgiveness? Is it the cause of societal forgiveness? Or are they one and the same?

Philosophy grad, lawyer in training. I write about society, politics, and the human experience, mostly based on reflections of my own humble life.

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